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Laptop Cannot See Changes In Directory Of Files On Another Computer Attached To The Same Home Network

Hello Experts -

I thought that I had this problem solved, however, it has raised it ugly head again.

I have two computers on a small home network called "HOMEGROUP". Unfortunately, a Sony laptop computer (which is my primary computer can't see a Desktop systems. For some reason there have been occasions when I could see the Desktop, but for some reason 15 or 20 minutes later that connection is lost.

One possibility is that the computers are not setup correctly. For example, the Desktop system reports that HomeGroup is "Joined" while there seem to be two Local Area Connections - Connection and Connection 2.

The Sony laptop by comparison does not indicate in the "Open Network And Sharing" that the Homegroup has been joined, and the Connections value reports Local Area Connection 8.

I'm obviously wondering if I have to make sure that the values shown by both computers are identical.  Here they are below:

Desktop Computer -

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The desktop looks fine.

The laptop has not joined (as you can see)

It does not matter that one in Local Area Connection 2 and the other is Connection 8 - that is internal to the OS.

The bigger concern is getting the connection of the laptop stable. Since you know the laptop has a connection problem, try the following:

Once more run TCP/IP Reset and restart.
Open cmd.exe with Run as Administrator
Then  netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt
Also, ipconfig /flushdns followed by net stop dnscache followed by net start dnscache

Then open Admin Tools, Resource Monitor and click on Network. Let it run. Do you see a pattern of disconnects.
Have you ever tried to reset the router itself.
If the router or switch in between the systems has a problem, it could cause for a disconnect.
Another idea is to setup a ping to the remote computer, and the router itself from both machines.

When PC 1 loses connection with PC 2, see if either of them lost connection to the router, or perhaps both.

e.g. perhaps it is

A, Sony PC loses connection to port on router.
B, Other PC loses connection to port on router.
C, Connection to modem ok from both PC's, so issue is indeed between 2 PC's
D, Both PC's lose connection with modem, problem is the modem.

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Maybe its indeed that router ping is fine, but ping to PC only is bad.
This would help narrow down potential causes. It doesn't have to be the PC.

That mentioned, considering the amount of time spend trying to fix the LAN card. Have you ever contemplated simply rebuilding the Sony to rule OS issues out as a problem? The backup & rebuild time might be well worth it. You get a clean machine, and you technically should be rid of any software side issues.

For ping monitoring you could contemplate ping plotter by the way.
I will do the TCP / IP reset.

But, don't you think it's significant that the Laptop does not appear to have joined the HOMEGROUP.

In my haste to provide you with the connection values, I forgot to label it "Sony Laptop:"
With networking, if you setup a share from PC A to PC B, joining a homegroup is not necessarily required. I guess from my view, I am not sure what you are trying to see on the second computer.
If Computer A is on the Homegroup, but computer B is not, I would suggest to make sure you followed the adding of 2nd PC to homegroup to the letter.

HomeGroup - Walkthrough

My understanding however from the described issue was that you had access between PC a & B, but it dropped frequently. It was the dropping in general which I approached with my comments.
Okay. I've done the TCP / IP reset.

Then after a few seconds following re-booting the Laptop Computer seems to have found home Network 5 and made a connection to Local Area Connection and called it 8.

But, it doesn't indicate that it is a member of HOMEGROUP.

Beyond that, I haven't done anything. Don't you think we should some how add it to HomeGroup?
You can make sure Homegroup services (2) are ready to start and then go to Control Panel, Homegroup and join the Homegroup.
Here is a second attempt to show you what Open Network and Sharing Center looks like.

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Local Area Connection 8 merely means its the 8th instance of the same NIC as the past 7.
To add to homegroup I recommend you follow the walkthrough posted above your last comment, and advise where it goes wrong (If at all) and what the error(s} might be (If any)
Sorry, but I don't know how to make sure that HomeGroup Services (2) are ready to start. Can you give me a hint on that?
Go to Admin Tools and the Services, look down for Homegroup. 2 services. They should be set to Manual but not Stopped or Disabled..
There are two Services with the name HomeGroup:  HomeGroup Listener and HomeGroup Provider.

The latter (Provider) has been started, while the Listener is blank. I presume that the Listener is stopped because when I right click on it only gives me the option of "Start" ing it.

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Click start on the service, and check what the error is (If any)
If no error, go to your event viewer, and look for the error in the event logs.
There must be something that can give you a hint. However considering your PC does not mention being part of a homegroup, I'll repeat. Have you gone through the walkthrough and checked that no steps were missed.

E.G. at any point did you join that PC to the homegroup, and it listed as being a member of the homegroup. If it is not joined to the homegroup, it won't be listening, as it doesnt need to. (Not being a member and all that)
MacLean - I'm trying to stay in tune with what John is saying. I don't want to start roaming or getting ahead of him because it's only going to confuse matters.

Then John is going to say that he didn't tell me to do this or that.
As long as the services are Started or Manual that is fine.
All good. I'll merely monitor and see if you guys get stuck in that case. Was merely trying to help out.
Good luck :)
Okay. I'll leave the HomeGroup Listener Service as is - blank.

Then I went to Control Panel / Homegoup, and found the values in this screen to be the same as allways. I don't see any place where it says something like "Add this computer to the Homegroup".

But, when I activate the "Open Network And Sharing Center", I don't see where the dialog says "HomeGroup:       Joined" under "Access Type:" Thus, my doubts that my computer has been added to the LAN.

But, wow, I've just discovered that My Computer indicates the computer is a part of "WORKGROUP", not HOMEGROUP. I'm going to change that right now and reboot. I'll report in to report any progress after the reboot.
Okay. I rebooted after redefining the value WORKGROUP as "HOMEGROUP".

When it came back I went to Admin / Services to look at Homegroup Listener and Homegroup Provider. They didn't appear any different then they did before. At this point I took MacLean'ssuggested and tried to start Homegroup Listener. I got the error message below.

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Then, get this... I went to Windows Explorer and found this.

*******The Sony Laptop had connected with the Desktop Computer. Go figure.   ********

Then I went to the dialog "Open Network and Sharing Center" and discovered that the value HomeGroup didn't appear corresponding to HomeGroup. It continued to be blank and give rise to the thought that the Sony Laptop still was not apart of the LAN.

I'm going to reboot a few times and see what happens. It is all very strange.
I only had to reboot once to lapse into the twilight zone.

You got it. Then frigging thing wouldn't connect to the Desktop Computer. It seemed, however, to realize something was wrong because an error message popped up and asked to be clicked to connect. See below.

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I'm going to take a shower and go to the liquor store!
Here's an update. At present my Sony laptop is connected to the LAN. However, if I run "Open Network and Sharing Center, I don't see any reference to the Sony being part of "HOMEGROUP".

Last night I made no changes to the configuration network wise. Periodically, I would do a power down - then reboot.

At this stage I wonder if the NIC (Network Interface Card) is experiencing a problem. The difficulty is that finding a replacement card is difficult because Sony Corp exited the PC business. What's more, I don't even know the part number. Sony Corp sold computers with truckloads of different models numbers.

I have a Sony identified as a VPCZ114GX. I am going to post a question on this website to determine if anyone knows anything about replacement NICs. It maybe the same card was used for in all VPCZ1 models. I don't know.

It is also possible that my NetGear router has failed. But, since I've always been able to look from the Desktop Computer to Sony Laptop (as opposed to the Sony Laptop to the Desktop), I'm skeptical that the router is the problem.

I'll get back to you.
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The problem is, John, I don't know the Sony Part Number for a replacement NIC.

I just posted a question on EE asking where I could get this information.

There a couple of big PC retailers here in Boston - Micro Computer Center, Staples, and Best Buys. Best Buys still has something to do the Vaio line. Maybe there is a tech at one of these stores that could help me.

I don't trust leaving a computer with one of these folks for repair. Too many disaster stories.
You might take to one of the stores where perhaps you could do something for an hour while they service it. But then ensure you pick it up.
It is not just leaving the computer. It's the fact that most of these technicians have no idea what they're doing.

I'm going to open this beast myself and see if I can identify the NIC.
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I certainly can buy a USB NIC card.

As far as "pinging" goes, I'm not a network specialist. I do this strictly out of necessity in order to keep my little LAN network running.

Right now I'm a little bit punchy. I've been installing new BIOS releases and looking for Ethernet card for my Sony Laptop. None of these efforts have changed a thing.
So the registry changes suggested made no change correct? Just wanting to make sure that I am clear on what has been done from my list of suggestions.
Mr. Maclean -

I spent another full day on this thing, and as I say, I getting punchy.

One thing I discovered was that the target Desktop Computer vigorously resisted my efforts to install the latest "Intel(R) 82577 Gigabit Network Connection" driver.

So, I think my next step is to take the target computer to the local Data Doctors depot - thinking that they might at least update this driver. It kept blue screening on me when I tried uninstall it.

That is going to put any further efforts to communicate with Desktop Computer on hold for at least a week.

I'll be back in touch when I am at it again. Thanks for your input.

Ok, no worries. Good luck.
For some reason I have been able to connect to the remote Desktop Computer.

The only possible cause I can think of is high-frequency electrical interference on the new cable modem box that sits next to my router.

I am going to explore this possibility more thoroughly by adding some kind of shielding.

In the meantime, EE is pressing me to comment immediately, which I cannot do.

So, in appreciation, I have awarded points to both of the gentlemen that helped, and request that this question be closed out.
Thanks, and thank you for the update. If you need more help, by all means open a new question.
Thanks John. You've always been a big help.