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Network Being Silly...another Vague Problem...


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Im having problems sharing files on my network, all the PCs (6 ish of them) are running Win XP and one on Win98 (plus one running Mandriva).

We seem to have general problems with people being able to see or not see eachother, they are pretty much fixed (i.e you either can or cant see somewhere). Also seem to have the same problems if i have a server (like a message thing) on one of the PCs which u cant see thier files it also wont work.


sorry if thats a big confusing :S


bascally i was wondering if someone can give me any things to check on all the PCs, like general networl trouble shooting because i cant specify what is causing the problem.


Normal internet works fine on all of the computers. We connect 3 computers into a router (then the internet) and the others into a hub then into the router.

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Some things I'd probably check:


1) Make sure the PCs are in the same workgroup. On a WinXP machine, right click on "My Computer", click "Properties", then click on the "Computer Name" tab. Click the "Change" button - the workgroup is set in this window. On a Win98 machine, I believe you need to go into Control Panel -> Networking, then click the "Identification" tab and set the computer's workgroup there. It doesn't matter what the name of the workgroup is (other than it needs to be a valid one) - all the computers just need to be in the same one.


2) Make sure the PCs are on the same local subnet. What this means is that each PCs local IP address on your local network should be within one range of IP addresses that is valid for a local (and non-routable) network. For example, my home PCs are on a local network of the 192.168.0.x range of IP addresses. If you've let your PCs get their IP addresses automatically, they could use IP addresses in another range, such as 172.168.x.x.


3) Windows XP has a decent troubleshooting wizard. To get to the file/printer sharing troubleshooter: Click Start -> Help and Support, then click the "Fixing a problem" link on the left near the bottom of the window, then click the "Networking Problems" link on the left, then click "File and Printer Troubleshooter" on the right.


Go through the troubleshooting wizard and see if you have the network components installed and set up the way the wizard thinks you should.


4) Make sure that the PC firewalls are configured to allow file sharing to and from the other machines on your local network. A firewall blocking file and printer sharing on either PC will usually prevent both PCs from seeing each other on the network.


How to do this depends on what firewall software you're using on each PC (if any). I'm using ZoneAlarm on my PCs, and I had to set up each computer on my network as a trusted IP address before file/printer sharing would work on my network.


5) Have patience and time to work on this. Even if you get all of the issues resolved, Windows can take up to 12 minutes before it re-polls the network to see if there's any new computers on it.


Personally, I'd suspect #4 (a firewall issue) first, but you need to rule out the other things first so you're not spinning your wheels tinkering with the firewalls.


Hope this helps...

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