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Cannot conect multiple machines & OS's to Local Area Network.

I have 3 PCs and a laptop and I cannot conect any of them to the LAN although they all connect to the internet without any problems.
Also have a Brother MFC - 5890CN Wired network printer.
PC 1 is running vista 32bit connected by wire. (Can print from this machine no probs) No LAN
PC 2 is running Vista 32bit via wireless. cannot print NO LAN
PC 3 is running windows 7 64 bit. wireless or wire. If I want to print from this machine I have to plug in the LAN wire to connect my Brother Printer basicly switch from wire to wireless to print but still NO LAN
Laptop is running vist 32bit via wireless NO LAN Have not tried to print from here.
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Hi nice to be here, hope you can help me.
Have you ensured all of the computers are in the same Workgroup?

Also, if you want to be able to get into each other's files, it helps if you create one username and password that is shared among all the computers, with admin rights.

Can you even ping each one?  Is Windows Firewall or some other firewall turned on?


Dale Harris
I'm not sure exactly what you mean.
SSID for all is Familynet and all have the same password.
All machines are running AVG 9 latest update firewall on.
What does it mean to ping something?
It seems to me things are getting more complicated as time goes on.
Come back XP all is forgiven
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Dale Harris
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I tried typing ipconfig as you suggested. All that happens is a black box with some numbers in it flashed on the screen. how do i get it to stay on screen.
I remember the ip address of the printer is or something very close. This is a new machine and i have had no problems with it at all, even the fax seems to be working ok.
I have no problems printing from any of the machines as long as they are not on wireless. The printer is wired conection only either usb or ethernet cable. I am using ethernet cables only.
I'll have to continue this tomorrow its now gone midnight, everyone has gone to bed and the other machines are switched off now.
Thanks for your help so far.

You will need to first type in cmd to get the black box to pop up and stay.  Then type in ipconfig.

It sounds like your wireless network is not talking with your Wired network.

You will need to test connectivity between your computer and printer.

In which case, you'll need to get the IP of the printer and try to ping it.

I'll be waiting for your reply.  Take your time.


Dale Harris
Hi Dale
I pinged the Wired printer on Windows 7 64bit wired pc and got
I pinged OK I think this one is the Wired Vista 32bit PC.
I then pinged default gateway OK. And Printed a test page OK.
Then using the Wired Vista 32bit PC I pinged
Followed by Default gateway. And printed a test page OK.
Next Came the Laptop Vista 32bit wireless. Pinged OK
Next I tried to ping at first nothing happened timed out. so I tried again this time I was succesful. Tried to print a Test Page but nothing happened just shows as document in print queue.
The fourth PC running Vista 32bit by wireless. is frozen up in the shed/den at the top of the garden not been able to start it for last 3 weeks. this happened last winter, but things were ok once i had brought it indoors and lett it warm up for a couple of days.

I'm glad you were able to ping through everything.  It sounds like the last laptop Vista 32bit wireless is all we have to worry about.

I would recommend re-installing the printer.

There are a few ways you could do this:

A) Download the latest drivers for your printer from the manufacturer website and run the .exe program to install it, while pointing it to the IP

B) Add a printer via your Windows 7 Add Printer Button, under "Printers".  Hit "Local Printer" instead of networked printer.  Add a TCP/IP Port, Enter in the IP of the device, and Windows 7 should automatically install the drivers.

C) Use the disc that came with the Printer to install the device.


Dale Harris
Hi again
Thanks for the help so far
I have Uninstalled the old driver and installed the new one for the printer.
I have printed a test page also.
I have again pinged everything all is ok. and printed a test page for the other desktop.
The laptop will ping addresses but not print.
I still can't comunicate from pc to pc to laptop etc.
If i plug an ethernet cable into the laptop it drops the wireless for the faster connection and will print
but not conect to other pc s.

How do you want to connect to the other PCs?  Are they all in the same workgroup so you can access the files between them?  Have you tried creating a local administrator on each one and giving it the same password?

That will allow your computers to talk.

Dale Harris
You can also try to create a share on the drives you want to share between your computers.  Right-click on the drive or folder you want to share and add "everyone" and give full permission.

Then make sure your firewalls are turned off.

Then try \\IPofComputer\sharename


Hello Dale
Can you walk me through this bit i have tried as you said but not sure i've done it right.
when i tried to use the cmd line  \\IPofComputer\sharename
i got network path was not found.
All the fire walls are down at the moment.
is the first letter of line a (.1 one) (l ell) or (I eye)
Thanks H
Hi again
Got another error. network patch was not found
Got to close down now her indoors says it's bed time.

Sorry to confuse you.  You know that ipconfig command we did earlier?  That should be the same command to run in the black command prompt window on the laptop you're trying to reach after you create a share for it.

Once you get the IP of the distant computer (most likely in the format of, on the computer you're using, in the run box (start > Run), type in \\\ and hit enter.  This should show you all the shares on that distant computer.

Then, if you created a share called "movies" on your movies folder, that should show up on this window.

Does that make any more sense?

What exactly are you trying to access again?  Shared folders like music and movies, or printers or what?

And the first character is a backslash (\) under the backspace key for most keyboards.

Dale Harris
Hi Dale
Yes basic stuff like pics and music, and transfer stuff from my telescope/computer indoor to the desktop.
Hi Dale
the  \\\  cmd does not work what can i do next?
every ping computation you can think of from all the machines work great.
we seem to be getting somewhere though; clicking the network icon on the laptop now brings up all the machines on the LAN.
How can I tell which IP address goes to which machine?
You can name each one a different name, and when you want to find out which computer it is, you can type

nbtstat -A <IP of computer>

So if the IP was, it would look like

nbtstat -A

That will bring up the computername of the computer.  If you named one "Kitchen PC" or "Mom's Computer" then you'll be able to tell which computer is which.

In order to rename the computer, just open up the start menu, right-click on the "My Computer" or computername icon, and hit Properties.  If you are on Windows 7 or Vista, scroll to the bottom and hit "Change Settings".  This will bring you to where you can put in a description of the computer.  Click the "Change" button on the bottom right of this box, and you'll be able to change the computer name.  

In order to see the shares of "Mom's Computer" for example, if the IP was, you can type in


and hit enter.

This will show you everything that's shared including printers, folders, etc.

I think we are getting close to your solution.

Take care,

Dale Harris
OK I can see where beverything is and what it is IP address wise.
eg is this windows 7 PC and is my bedroom PC.
That leaves the printer on
And the wireless laptop must be on by default it being the only address left but  although the laptop can ping it doesn't show up on nbtstat on any machine.
I have tried the command \\\ but it is not recognized as an internal or external command.

I have also renamed the machines and the workgroup.
eg Harrysmachine.
Maureensmachine.  etc.
and named the workgroup Familynet.

Great, you got your computers re-named!  That's a step in the right direction on figuring out what you want to do.

Try running the \\\ in the run box or Windows Explorer.

This will browse to it and show you the shares available.

If you can ping it, you can see the shares, even if there are none or you don't have access, it will tell you some kind of message.

So what exactly are we trying to do now?  Can you create a share on one of your computers and see it from all the others?

Have you thought about getting a large external hard drive and putting all of your files on there, and sharing it out to your network?  This will give you a way to watch movies, listen to music, from any computer in your house.

Can you print from each computer?

Dale Harris
have run the  \\\ with different endings I get a screen I can see what is available tom share. But I have got blank passwords on all computers for logging on. How do I give new passwords to eaqch machine?
We're definatly getting there where ever that is.

If each computer has one account called "Admin" for example, and every account with the name "Admin" has administrator privileges, and the password is the same (whether that's no password, or a complex one), you should be able to access every single other system easily.

The other thing you could do is share it out and give "Everyone" full control.


Dale Harris
We are definatly almost neary omewhere nearly there maybe
I managed to get the Laptop to print a test page Oh I'm so excited lol
Everyone except Guests have got admin rights.
So now will try to access music file on bedrrom computer.
Hi Dale
Well I can print from evrything and can get music from Bedroom to here. will try to access Laptop tomorrow. I've given my wife admin rights but cannot access her music file; says not got permission. Is there a way around this nor is that one of the penaltys for full access?
Will test everything fully tomorrow.
Her indoors is in bed and I had better shut the computer in there down.
I'll let you know how I get on.
Thanks again

That's a huge leap that we've gotten everything talking and our worry is only permissions.  In order to share her music for example, find the folder that all of her music is in, then right-click on it and go to "Properties", then "Sharing", then click on the buttons that allow sharing.   You can give it a name or keep it the default folder name.  Then go to the security tab, and add the group called "everyone", and give the rights "Full Control".

This will allow you to get to her music, but you are also allowing other computers in your network to delete her music, so if you want to make it "Read Only" rights, you can do that too.

But at least if you can give full control this way and it works, then you can step it down slowly until we get the desired effect.

Good luck!

Dale Harris
Hi Dale
Things have gon backwords since yesterday I managed to print from the laptop yesterday evening but the printer is showing as offline now i don't know how to get it on line.
As far as i can tell i've given all the drives over to share, At least there is an icon of two people attached to each drive etc. However I still can't share most things. I usually get a flash warning not got permision etc. I have had some success with getting music from the bedroom PC to the living room but thats about all.
What can I do next?
Hello Harry!

We have a saying in the IT world: when in doubt, reset it.

This works for printers and computers.

If you would like more information on shares, please see the following link:

Content in link:
Windows Vista and Windows 7
 The default permission when sharing a folder from Windows Vista or Windows 7, depends on whether you have enabled password-protected file sharing. If password-protected file sharing is not enabled, everyone is granted "Full Control" permission to the files in the shared folder. If password-protected file sharing is enabled, you must add the users or groups you want to grant access to. The default permission for a user or group you add is the "Read" permission.

Once you have it shared, you should be able to see it if you are all connected.

Does that help at all, Harry?

Thanks Dale
Will try it out and get back to you tomorrow.
Thanks very much for your help.But in the end I bought a program to do it all for me a lot easier from my point of view.
Thanks H

Can you give everyone else the name of the program to save from also spending a lot of time getting this up and running?  And what did your program achieve for your exactly.  I thought I was a little bit of help getting your laptops to print at the least and talking over the network with shares.

I'm a little bit surprised that after all that work we did, it actually didn't work out for you, and you ended up assigning points to yourself for the answer.

Have a good one, Harry.


Recommend Accepting my Solution: http:#34425406

Here is a comment which leads me to believe we got the solution from the asker: http:#34432771

The original question was asking on how to network 4 computers together and to a printer, which I did provide the solution for.  Unfortunately, the asker might not have been as comfortable doing it by themselves, which in the end, they ended up buying a 3rd party program which hasn't been mentioned yet.

Dale Harris
Starting the automated closure procedure to implement the recommendations from the participating Expert(s).

- thermoduric -
EE Community Support Moderator