XP won't connect to Vista Ultimate network share, but will form remote desktop connection

I have a network with 2 wired Vista Home Premium 64-bit machines, 1 wired Vista Ultimate 64-bit machine, several wireless XP 32-bit machines, and several wireless 32-bit Vista Home Premium machines. The Vista Ultimate machine serves as the file server for this network.

Recently I moved the network share of the Vista Ultimate machine (call this Alpha) to it's own drive partition. Ever since this move, the XP machines have had difficulty connecting to it. The connectivity issue is related to NetBIOS because the XP machines could connect when the IP address was used for Alpha in place of its name. This problem was resolved by creating firewall rules, but one of the XP machines continues to have issues.

Call this rouge machine Client. Client will connect most days with no problem. Occasionally it will be stubborn and require the a remap of the Alpha network share. This has been enough of a problem that I have disabled all firewalls on Client and yet the problem persists. Today the problem took a nasty turn, Client would not connect ot Alpha. Client could not see Alpha in the network and typing Alpha's netowrk share by name or IP address yielded only an error message. The bizarre thing is that Client can ping Alpha, and can even establish a Remote Desktop Connection with Alpha! Rebooting did nothing. Finally I logged in as a differnt user, and was able to establish the connection by typing the network share IP address. After this, I logged back on as the original user and was able to connect. This makes it seem like a user account issue, but both accounts are Administrator accounts and both accounts experience the same intermittent connection problems.

Here are the details in summary:
Vista Ultimate 64-bit File Server
Network is public
Server uses static IP
XP SP2 Client
Client has no firewall
Client uses DHCP for its IP
User accounts are identical on Client and Server
NetBIOS is enabled on both Client and Server
Connection intermittently fails
Connection via NetBIOS name never works  for this Client
All Vista clients have no problems
All other XP problems have NetBIOS issue, but no continued intermittent problems
Who is Participating?
Shane Russell2nd Line Desktop SupportCommented:
Are there any firewalls on the vista ultimate machine aka the server or file server ?

If so are the relevant ports for netbios names etc enabled ie ports 139 to 139 ie Windows File Sharing (NETBIOS) Ports 137-139.

Also to refresh the connection if you right click on the connection and do a repair on the connection does that help at all ?

Also if you right click on my comptuer --> manage --> event viewer

are there any errors relating to the share dropping or not being able to connect to it or anything that relates to the issue you are having ?

If so post back with the event id and the error description.
qadminAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help. It turns out that another admin here had enabled Widnows Firewall on the file server. Somehow I missed this before.

I've opened ports 137-139 (UDP) for my network subnet, and the file server is now appearing in the network map on the XP machine. This is a definite positive step. Unfortunately I can't interupt the user of the XP machine to look at the event log until tomorrow morning.

Getting NetBIOS to work is a positive step, but unfortunately the intermittent nature of this probem means that I won't know if it's fixed for a few days. I will get back to you with any relevant events tomorrow and keep you otherwise updated.

Thanks again!
qadminAuthor Commented:
Sorry that took so long, but I was finally able to sit down with the troublesome computer and review the event log. I found a ton of system errors with a source of NETw4x32. The following three errors each show up many times over the last several weeks.

\DEVICE\{7A239BEB-977D-48B4-860E-D4E76BB8D933} : Has determined that the adapter is not functioning properly.
\DEVICE\{7A239BEB-977D-48B4-860E-D4E76BB8D933} : Has encountered an internal error and has failed.
Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection : Has determined that the adapter is not functioning properly.

These errors seem to clearly indicate that the wireless network adapter on this machine has been experiencing some issues. The off thing is that the wireless internet access of this computer has had very few problems. Even when the computer will not network with the file server it will always have uninterupted internet access. The fact that internet was still working led me to not consider a hardware issue. The only symptom related to hardware is that on two or three occasions, while trying to debug the networking issue, the wireless adapter failed to respond when I tried to disable/enable cycle it.

Any additional thoughts?
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qadminAuthor Commented:
Here's an additional update:

Windows claimed my wireless network adapter driver was up to date, but Intel's website had a different opinion. I've installed an updated driver and used to program reccommended in this experts exchange post:

After rebooting I can connect to the internet, there are no errors in the event viewer, I can connect to mapped network shares (or other network shares if I type their name into file explorer), but if I try to view my network I get the following error, "The list of servers for this workgroup is not currently available."

So in some respects my problem has improved and in others it has worsened.
Shane Russell2nd Line Desktop SupportCommented:
can you give me an example of when it does work and when it does not because you said that when you connect to it using its name it worked but when connecting another way it does not , what other ways are you trying to connect to the network shares ?
qadminAuthor Commented:
What I meant is that Windows will not build the network list. If I type "net view" into the command prompt window, or click on my network in file explorer I get the error, "The list of servers for this workgroup is not currently available." However, if I just type the name of a specific network share into file explorer, then it opens it right up.
qadminAuthor Commented:
After several hours, windows seems to have rediscovered its network list. I've seen similar (although no with the same error message) behavior in the past. Sometimes after a network setting change, windows will need a substantial amount of time to establish connections with every other computer in the network.

I'm calling this one case closed. I'm not sure that this computer will stop acting up, but the immediate symptoms have been alleviated.

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