We have a peer-to-peer network of 7 PCs. 6 are running Windows 7, one is running Windows XP. We have a ZyXel PK501Z modem/router. I know just enough about networking to get by - so please bear with my limited knowledge.
I have an accounting program that has the accounting database stored on one PC, called officemgr-pc. It is accessed on the officemgr-pc and also from my laptop (jodylptp). jodylptp wasn't able to access the database last week. The accounting program's tech support discovered that I didn't have a hosts file in c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc.
According to my router/modem, the officemgr-pc has been assigned an IP address of 192.168.0.252. But when I ping officemgr-pc from my laptop, it is pinging a very different address - something like 220.127.116.11. These pings all time out in error. I tried pinging other PCs in the office (i.e., matt-pc) and had the same result. I can ping 192.168.0.252.
We created a new hosts file that resolves officemgr-pc to 192.168.0.252. This fixes the problem with the accounting program. But this is only a temporary fix, as the router may assign officemgr-pc a different IP address tomorrow.
We also have had on and off issues with our Xerox ColorQube 9203's scan-to-e-mail feature. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Xerox says everything is correct on their end and points to our ISP as the culprit. Our ISP says everything is correct on their end and points to Xerox. Now I'm wondering if the issue described above is responsible for the problem.
My questions are:
Why would I not have had a hosts file?
How does the hosts file get updated, and why doesn't it have all of the PC names from our network in there?
Isn't there another "service" that should be resolving these PC names to IP addresses? Shouldn't our router handle that?
Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!