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

Posted on 2016-09-26
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Last Modified: 2016-10-04
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 -

160926-Desktop-Network-Setup.jpg
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Question by:gbmcneil
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41816535
160926-Laptop-Network-Setup.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41816636
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
Restart

Then open Admin Tools, Resource Monitor and click on Network. Let it run. Do you see a pattern of disconnects.
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Expert Comment

by:Maclean
ID: 41816700
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.

Sony.png
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.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41816725
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:"
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Expert Comment

by:Maclean
ID: 41816735
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.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41816756
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?
1609261-Laptop-After-Reboot.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41816763
You can make sure Homegroup services (2) are ready to start and then go to Control Panel, Homegroup and join the Homegroup.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41816766
Here is a second attempt to show you what Open Network and Sharing Center looks like.

1609261-Laptop-After-Reboot.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:Maclean
ID: 41816768
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)
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41816770
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?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41816784
Go to Admin Tools and the Services, look down for Homegroup. 2 services. They should be set to Manual but not Stopped or Disabled..
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41816803
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.

1609262-Admin-Services-Check.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:Maclean
ID: 41816806
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)
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41816821
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.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41816824
As long as the services are Started or Manual that is fine.
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Expert Comment

by:Maclean
ID: 41816830
All good. I'll merely monitor and see if you guys get stuck in that case. Was merely trying to help out.
Good luck :)
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41816861
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.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41816898
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.

1609263-Error-Msg-Click-Listener.jpg
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.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41816920
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.

1609264-Click-To-Connect-After-Boot.jpg
I'm going to take a shower and go to the liquor store!
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41818108
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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Accepted Solution

by:
John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 41818118
It is entirely possible the Network Card has developed a problem. You might look on eBay for a card (or even a knackered replacement Sony machine cheap)

It may also be time to consider a mainline machine.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41818182
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.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41818245
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.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41818248
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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Assisted Solution

by:Maclean
Maclean earned 250 total points
ID: 41818491
Just a quick one (Sorry, small novel). Yes you can look for a replacement mainboard (Assuming NIC is integrated). A cheap alternative might be to consider a USB NIC for testing., Whether WiFi or LAN. And if you go back to my first post in this thread. Pinging the router from both computers, plus having computers ping each other would make it pretty clear whether the problem is with your Sony PC, your Router, or even your other PC.

Reasons for this is that yeah you can go and replace the motherboard. But what if the issue remains.
This issue sounds to me like it is not really hardware related, but OS related. For some reason the Homegroup is not performing as required. Maybe the services are having an issue, maybe the NIC driver, maybe some other DLL's. Its all unclear without some basic analytics such as the pings I recommended. The pings do not fix a thing, but they will show if Computer A or B dropped pint to router or each other.

And using ping plotter you can have a coffee while they record the sessions.
Once you got that info you will have a more definite answer on source, which may very well be the Sony.

A potential approach which I would consider would be to install Windows 7 to a USB drive and boot from that, join to homegroup, and test. it would be a clean OS, free of any OS related problems experienced with the current system.
Pretend this Sony issue is a warranty call. The first thing Sony is going to ask you would be "Have you restored the factory image to your laptop" This is for a sound reason. You can spend weeks trying to fix a OS that might or might not have an issue.
Having a clean OS would make it unlikely to be an OS issue.

Also for the service issue with Homegroup Listener

-Try to leave the Homegroup completely
-Click the Start Button, type "cmd" (without quotation marks), in the search result list, right click on Cmd and select Run as administrator.
-Note: If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.
-In the popup window, type the following commands and press Enter: Net stop p2pimsvc
-Access the folder below & clear all files inside it: C:\Windows\ServiceProfiles\LocalService\AppData\Roaming\PeerNetworking
-Click the Start Button, type "cmd" (without quotation marks), right click on Cmd, then select Run as administrator: Net start p2pimsvc
-Now check whether the service can be started or not. If not, please proceed below.
-Verify the Server service and assure the status is started.
-Replace the system file and registry key. Please copy the below files from another Windows 7 machine which HomeGroup Listener service can start normally and import them to the problematic one.
-Locate the ListSvc.dll file under the folder C:\Windows\System32. (Delete the old one first if it does not allow overwrite)
-Navigate to the following registry key on your other Windows 7 machine and export it. Then, please copy and import it on the Sony machine.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\HomeGroupListener
-Try rebooting your PC and test again, this might fix it.

Not sure what John his opinion on this would be on my comments. Merely trying to give some more ideas.
Happy to leave it with you two.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41818784
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.
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Expert Comment

by:Maclean
ID: 41818955
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.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41818957
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.

Gordon
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Expert Comment

by:Maclean
ID: 41818972
Ok, no worries. Good luck.
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Author Closing Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41828293
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.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41828331
Thanks, and thank you for the update. If you need more help, by all means open a new question.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 41828342
Thanks John. You've always been a big help.
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