Loss of Mapped Network Drives

Hi, got a system running SBS 2003 R2, small office, 4 coputers, all need to access exchange server on SBS machine and files on data drive.
Normally works fine, but recently lost all mapped network drives, and email connectivity.
Have run wizards, no avail. Internet supplied by Thompson router set up by Opel comms, which is supposed to supply the DHCP, all computers are on the internet, all see each other, not the server.
Computers run on a network, not domain, because some have home XP etc. installs.
Any ideas guys? Why have I lost connectivity, how do I restore it?
If it's a daft question, sorry!
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Fred MarshallConnect With a Mentor PrincipalCommented:
OK- so this is a peer-to-peer network.  That generally means NetBIOS and one of the computers is designated (in a mostly transparent and transient fashion) as the Master Browser.  This can get out of whack for over 1/2 hour and leads to conclusions that can be misleading.  If this is the case I'd read up on Computer Brower / Master Browser.  One thing that can be done in a small network is to turn off Computer Browser service on all computers but one - the one that will be on all the time.  So that's likely the Server machine.
While this may not be your problem, it's at least worth knowing about.

Are you mapping by name?  Then see the above.

Are you mapping by IP address?  In such a small network you can afford to have manually set / static IP addresses.  Just get the gateway and DNS addresses "right".  My preference for DNS is to list the ISP name servers.  The logic for this is:  
- if you can't connect to the internet then you don't *need* name service   :-)
- you only need name service if you're connected to the internet.  So, it will be there.
Of course, you can also list the internet gateway as a DNS server as long as it will perform that role.  Most do.

Using static IPs you can map by IP instead of the names.  (The internal "name service" is different from the  internet DNS above).    So then if the Master Browser goes down / is turned off you won't have to wait to get names 1/2 hour later......
For example:  When you map a drive for \\server\folder you enter:
.... something like that where "Documents" is a shared folder.
Then you don't need name service.

Also, I've seen some cases where the maps disappear.  The "solution" (grrrr) was to write a little batch file script in the startup folder that would:
disconnect the maps
reconnect the maps
Something like this:

net use [driveletter]: /delete
net use [driveletter]: \\server\share /user:[username] password /persistent:yes

where the user/password are often not required depending on how you've set up the shares.

Now, back to basics.  What can you ping by *IP Address* and what can you not ping by "IP Address*??

is the server one of the 4 computers? or is it a 5th?  he reason I ask is I don't see mention that the server itself has access to the internet and what not.  It could be as simple as the config on the card needs to be reset, the network cable on the server needs to be replaced or network card.  It could even be the server firewall is on.
Check your ip address and see where its pointing too (server/router), also check if any updates have been recently installed on the server (disable firewall on the server to test, check antivirus etc).  Check in the server can ping workstations.
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MarkKilbyAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys, OK, in order:
The server HAS internet access, along with all other computers.
it's the fifth computer. Five holes on the router, RJ45 in each, one computer to each, plus server.
If I ping the server from any computer it times out.
If I reverse and ping the workstation from the server they time out.
firewall NOT running
timbradingConnect With a Mentor Commented:
To be honest, having the router act as the DHCP server is not ideal.  What do you do regarding DNS updates?
I would disable DHCP on the router, and enable it on the server.  There is an excellent wizard on the server for setting up a DHCP range (although I never use wizards myself - much better to learn & know exactly what is being set up).  Set your server to be a DNS server, and enable forwarding for DNS entries to the router.
If you still really want to keep using the router as the DHCP server, make sure that you have a static IP set on your server that is in the same range of addresses as being given out by the router (so that the machines can see each other).
Try pinging the router from the server - if it fails - check your server IP address, and connection status (we all sometimes forget to check a cable isn't loose).
Are all machines connected to the same switch?  If so, try rebooting that (I have known problems with switches to cause machines not to see each other).
Good luck
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
timbrading makes a good point.

My standing rule with office staff is to reboot the entire router/firewall/switch complex if such problems appear.  In fact, there's a single power switch set up for this purpose.

This is to get past any box that has "lost its mind".  It doesn't happen very often and it's nearly impossible to diagnose as the symptoms can be very strange.  e.g. can access one web page but not another .. that sort of thing.  How to figure anything out if that happens?  You can run in circles for a long time.  
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