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Bill WaltonFlag for United States of America

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Does Windows 8.1 block access to PCs that are not up to date with Windows Updates?

In my office network there is a Windows 7 PC that has a shared folder used by several other PCs.  One of them, a recently purchased Windows 8.1 desktop, looses the ability to see this Windows 7 machine after "a while" - usually about 3 to 4 weeks. Trying to open the share results in "no such host" messages. If we install Windows Updates on the Win7 box and reboot it, then it is visible again to the "problem" desktop. No other Win8x desktop in the office shows this behavior.

Is there a security setting of some sort in Win8.1 that could cause this? (Yes, I know we should update the Win7 box more often, but it's most disconcerting to have this PC lose access to the share without warning if we forget.) Or, is this just superstition and it's really something else?
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No, there's no such setting. Maybe it was just the missing reboot.
I agree with McKnife. There is no feature to block networking if W8.1 is not patched or indeed anything connected to it.

The reboot is probably the trigger to resuming access. Network shares can go dormant (by design) if you are not actively using them. In XP this would appear as a red X on mapped drives. MS changed the behaviour in Windows 7 because the complete disconnect caused linked spreadsheets in Office to fail miserably.

There is nothing suspicious here. It sounds entirely normal behaviour. Just reboot and I'm sure the issue will resolve.  A reboot every 3 or 4 weeks is not a hardship :).

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I agree that rebooting is not a hardship. The Win8.1 user always shuts down her PC every night, starts it again in the morning. The Win7 "server" is not rebooted regularly, but they know how to do it themselves and have reported that they have done so when the problem appears. When they call me, I go in and reboot both, with no success - but if I install Windows updates and reboot, then it works again. Hence my "superstition" that it is related to the Win7 "server" being behind on updates.
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McKnife, I won't know for three or four weeks whether this solves the problem, but I'm willing to believe it will.  Thanks.
This was not meant to be a solution. It was even most inaccurate: you say you reboot the win7, not the win8.1... so modifying the 8.1 side is useless, sorry I confused the sides.
After we let win7 sit forever, there should be no "no such host messages" what so ever. In fact, the message "no such host" is no common windows error.

I suggest you re-open this question by calling moderators.
Strictly anecdotal observation - when I find time to get to church with nobody using their PCs soI can work on the problem, I have found that if I perform Windows updates on both the server and the client, and reboot both, the problem is solved. I have not performed a proper experiment with only one thing changing at a time, so it's unclear whether just doing a complete restart of the client would solve the problem - however, I did observe that when I asked the user to reboot her PC, she shut it down and then powered it up. This makes me think that it was going 3-4 weeks without a reboot, since it was set to fast hybrid startup.  I have now set it to do a complete restart on power up - maybe this will fix it.
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for bwawsc's comment #a40902399

for the following reason:

Based on the experiment (setting the user's PC to do a full reboot on power off/on, then waiting a long time to see if the problem recurs) I found that after a couple of months it's working fine. At least empirically, it seems that this solution worked.  OTOH, I have no explanation for why not doing a full reboot should cause loss of connection to the server shares - it would be much more satisfying to have a rigorous technical analysis.