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New computer can't access files on old computers

Posted on 2014-01-19
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Last Modified: 2014-01-20
I recently got a new computer (OptiPlex).  My two older computers are E520 and Studio Laptop.  On the new computer, I can see and work with files on both the older computers, but on both the older computers I can see the OptiPlex computer name, but can't open a folder or file on it -- I just get a message "Windows cannot access \\DELLOPTIPLEX".  How can I fix this?  All computers are running Windows 7 Pro; the E520 has 32-bit and the other two have 64-bit.

BTW, in the screen shots a very old computer (Dimension) is also shown; it has no keyboard or monitor, and is just used to store old files.  I can access its files from all the other computers, for what it's worth.  It is running Windows XP.

Here are some screen shots:

E520 error trying to view OptiPlexE520 view of Studio LaptopStudio Laptop view of E520Studio Laptop error trying to view OptiPlexOptiPlex view of E520OptiPlex view of Studio Laptop
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Question by:Helen Feddema
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Dan Craciun earned 1332 total points
ID: 39793006
You need to make sure the network profile is "Work", then check if, on advanced sharing settings, you have "Turn on file and printer sharing" checked.
The same with "Turn Off password protected sharing".

HTH,
Dan
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39793007
Try establishing a share to an older computer (that you cannot access) as follows:

NET USE Z: \\IP_address_of_old_computer\folder share and authenticate. What error do you get?

Also ensure that the new computer is using WORKGROUP and that all other computers are also using WORKGROUP. This is in Computer Name in Advanced System Properties.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:Helen Feddema
ID: 39793091
All three computers belong to WORKGROUP.  

If I try to set a share for a drive on the new computer, I get the same "Cannot access \\DELLOPTIPLEX message as when trying to open a folder on that computer in an Explorer pane.

How do I get to the Advanced Sharing Settings window?  If I select a folder in the Explorer (on the OptiPlex), and click the Share with item, I get this dropdown:

Share with choices
That is very different than the way this worked in older operating systems, like XP.
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Author Comment

by:Helen Feddema
ID: 39793103
I ran Network Diagnostics from one of the error messages, and this is what I got:

Network Diagnostics
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Author Comment

by:Helen Feddema
ID: 39793105
Could this be because the new computer (OptiPlex) has a 1 TB hard drive?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39793111
Could this be because the new computer (OptiPlex) has a 1 TB hard drive?

Only if the system did not install properly. Check in device manager for all devices, particularly the network drivers and upgrade the drivers.

Also make sure all computers have Homegroup turned off if XP is in the mix because XP cannot use Homegroup.

Should you wish to use Homegroup, turn it on for all computers and run the Homegroup troubleshooter. You may have to exit (disjoin) all home groups and re-establish a new group.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:Helen Feddema
ID: 39793125
The network items in the Device Manager all look OK.  I tried updating the driver for the network card, and got this message:

Update driver
I don't care about the Homegroup (not exactly sure what that is), I just want to be able to access the files on the OptiPlex from the other two computers.  The Dimension is just used for storage.  I can try turning Homegroup off -- how is that done?
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 668 total points
ID: 39793135
First, I don't understand why you are getting a Network Diagnostic error if the network is OK. I would run the troubleshooter again and see if anything surfaces.

Look in Action Center, Reliability Monitor to see if the computer is recording hardware errors.

Second, regarding Homegroup, go to Network and Sharing Center, Advanced Sharing Options on each machine. Make sure each machine is on Home/Work and set Homegroup OFF by turning Password sharing ON. See below.

Windows7-Advanced-Network-3
Also after these tests, what exact error number do you get with the NET USE command above.

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:Helen Feddema
ID: 39793143
Getting late here -- I will try this tomorrow and let you know the results.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39793147
Back to the 1 Tb drive. I have one for my ThinkPad X230 and the Lenovo Recovery DVD's would not install on a 1 Tb 5400-rpm drive. I had to back pedal to the 500Gb 7200-rpm drive which works fine.

Did this DELL come factory loaded with a 1 Tb drive? or did you do this later?

... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39793152
No issue - it is getting late here as well. Masterpiece Theatre will be on in a few minutes.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:Helen Feddema
ID: 39795246
My 1 TB drive was factory installed by Dell.

I checked the recommended checkboxes in the Advanced Network Settings screen, and tried again (after logging off and on again with all computers).  I still can't see the files on the OptiPlex from the other computers, but the problem is different.  Now, instead of the error message, I get the usual login screen, and after entering the user and password, the window where the OptiPlex files should appear is blank.

Since that wasn't working, I thought I would try setting up a Homegroup instead.  I tried to set up one on the E520, but got a message that a Homegroup could not be set up on that computer.

I have to to some other stuff now -- will try again later.
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Assisted Solution

by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 1332 total points
ID: 39795256
Well, you got a LOT further.

If it accepts your login, but no files are shown, this simply means you have no files shared.

Right click on a folder, choose Share with->Specific people, add "Everyone" to the list, set the permissions as Read or Read/Write and you're set :)
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39795724
Homegroup needs to be removed on all computers, restart and then set up on all computers if you wish to use Homegroup.

It would be helpful if you run NET USE Z: \\IPofOtherComputer\folder, authenticate and tell us what error number you get.

... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39795747
I also suggest that if you wish to adopt Homegroup to adopt it, set it up properly and keep.

If you wish to use traditional file sharing, disable Homegroup and leave it out.

But please do not switch back and forth as broken Homegroup will make troubleshooting next to impossible.

..... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:Helen Feddema
ID: 39795767
Sharing with everyone did it!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Helen Feddema
ID: 39795776
Thanks to everybody.
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