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Unable to Locate Server Across Network Using Server Name

Posted on 2011-10-17
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Some people in my office are having issues where their mapped drives stop working for no reason.  When I delete and re-add the drive mapping, it tells me that it cannot find the server.

For example:

\\Server2900\E$

I can enter the IP address for Server2900 and get it to work (\\192.168.1.7\\E$).

I need help understanding why I can find the server across the network using the IP Address, but not when I use the computer name of the server.  Is there some DNS setting I need to make and, if so, how do I do this?

The servers are running Windows 2008 R2.  The clients that experience the problem are running Windows 7.

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Question by:Ignyte_Software
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Assisted Solution

by:JohnGrunwell
JohnGrunwell earned 400 total points
ID: 36980776
it sounds like a dns issue.  Can you ping "servername" on any of the other servers? Try this open cmd type ipconfig/flushdns hit enter then type ipconfig/registerdns hit enter.  Wait a minute. Then try to ping server2009
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Author Comment

by:Ignyte_Software
ID: 36980813
Should I add a DNS entry on the Windows 2008 Server so that Server2900 always maps to 192.168.1.7?  If so, how is this done?
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 36980836
Is this in an Active directory domain? If so do ALL machines have the DNS server in ipconfig pointing to the AD DC?
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Expert Comment

by:JohnGrunwell
ID: 36980871
The DC (w2k8 server) should already have a DNS entery. You can check to make sure.  You just need to flush the cache on the xp machine that is not looking at the correct dns server.
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Author Comment

by:Ignyte_Software
ID: 36981228
There is no domain, and Active Directory is not being used.  The server is just being used as a simple file server, and each computer in the office has a drive mapping to the server.
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Expert Comment

by:JohnGrunwell
ID: 36981338
So does the server have the dns role installed? Is there a Local DNS server?
How a domain naming service works.  http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/D/DNS.html  this will give you an idea on why you are able to use names instead of ip addresses.
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Accepted Solution

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Neil Russell earned 1600 total points
ID: 36981375
The easiest way would be to add a hosts file ebntry on each computer if you have a small network AND dont have DNS server role installed anywhere.
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Author Comment

by:Ignyte_Software
ID: 36981398
I understand the concept of how names get translated into IP addresses, but I do not know how to get DNS set up on a Windows Server.  I work in a small office, without a dedicated networking resource.  I do what I can, but this one is beyond me.  The drive mappings have been working fine for a long time, and now for the past two weeks a person will lose the ability to find the server across the network using the computer name.  Everyone else will be working fine.  Two days later, the person with the problem might be able to see the server again using the computer name.

The easy solution is to just use \\TCP\IP\E$ instead of \\ComputerName\E$, but I would like to know if there are some steps I can take to make this work using the computer name.
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Author Comment

by:Ignyte_Software
ID: 36981420
@Neilsr:  Are you suggesting I enter something like the following in the Hosts file on each computer in the office?

127.0.0.1      localhost
192.168.1.7      Server2900
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 36981613
Yes that is exactly right. with the IP and name of each server you access
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Author Comment

by:Ignyte_Software
ID: 36982006
@Neilsr:  I guess for a small office like mine, this is a simple enough solution.  The only problem I see is when the office staff travels to a remote location.  They will still have a drive mapped to Server2900, but they will no longer be on our office network.  The Host file will still look at 192.168.1.7, which could be anything or nothing at another location.  I guess it would either display a message or prompt them in some way if this happens.
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 36982105
Are you expecting them to be able to access it from outside the office?
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Author Comment

by:Ignyte_Software
ID: 36982193
No, that's not what I meant.  They don't want to access the server when they are at another location.

What I mean is that Server2900 is mapped to 192.168.1.7 in my office.  But they might take their laptop to another location.  The network at the other location might also have a 192.168.1.7, but it might for a printer in the other office instead of a server.  Or, there might not be anything assigned to 192.168.1.7 at the other location.

When they start up their computer at the other location, I was just curious what would happen with the drive mapping for the Server2900 (192.168.1.7).
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Expert Comment

by:JohnGrunwell
ID: 36982270
it will be there, but it will show on boot up failed to connect to network drive. They won't be able to access it
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