Disconnected Network Drive - But Not

By sgordley ·
Just over last week on an XP Pro PC that has been working flawlessly, I started gettting the "Disconnected Network Drive" in windows explorer. Interestingly, there is not a red X on the drive icon. Also, previous if I had a drive that was disconnected, when you click on it, it would then reconnect and the message would change to "Network Drive". Now, you can access the files, but the message never changes from "Disconnected Network Drive". The only way to make the message go away is to do a full disconnect and reconnect. Strange... Any help would be appreciated.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Answers

Collapse -

A bit long but.........

This is long but it should give you something to work on. Read on....

Adjusting Network Settings
Although the Network Setup Wizard is the preferred way to work with network settings, you may need to adjust settings manually under some circumstances. Windows XP allows you to add, remove, enable, and disable protocols; change network settings; and set IP addresses using options in the Network Connections folder.

Installing and Configuring Protocols
Network protocols are the common languages used to transfer data from point to point on a network. A few years ago, it was not uncommon for a computer running Windows to require multiple protocols, and earlier versions of Windows included a plethora of protocols developed for use on different types of networks?most of them completely irrelevant to home and small business users.

Because of the overwhelming popularity of the Internet, however, only one protocol is truly essential anymore. TCP/IP, the default protocol of the Internet, is installed on every computer running Windows XP. For virtually any networking task, TCP/IP is the preferred solution. It works equally well on tiny two-computer networks and massive multinational networks with thousands of workstations. In fact, TCP/IP is so essential to the basic operation of Windows XP that it can?t be removed, although it can be disabled.

Two protocols that were once widely used in Windows networks are still available in Windows XP and can be configured for special purposes:

IPX/SPX. This protocol was originally developed for use on networks running Novell NetWare. It?s available in Windows XP as an installable option. As we explain later in this chapter, you should use IPX/SPX in addition to TCP/IP if you have an insecure network configuration in which all network computers share an Internet connection through a hub. For details on how to set up this configuration, see "Securing a Peer-to-Peer Network."
NetBEUI. This protocol (short for NetBIOS Extended User Interface) is available as an unsupported option in Windows XP. It was originally developed for use on small networks running Windows 3.x. NetBEUI can cause performance problems on some networks and should only be used when an existing network configuration requires it. In most cases, IPX/SPX is a better choice.
To install an additional protocol, follow these steps:

From Control Panel, open the Network Connections folder.
Select the connection icon you want to edit and then click the Change Settings Of This Connection link under Network Tasks. (If this option isn?t visible, right-click the connection icon and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.)

From the properties dialog box, click the Install button. The Select Network Component Type dialog box opens.

Choose Protocol and click Add. The Select Network Protocol dialog box appears.

Choose the protocol you want to add:
To install IPX/SPX, select NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS Compatible Transport Protocol and click OK.
To install NetBEUI, insert the Windows XP CD into the CD-ROM drive, click the Have Disk button, and then browse to the \Valueadd\Msft\ Net\Netbeui folder. Click Open and then click OK. Click OK when you see the dialog box that warns you that the driver is not digitally signed.
If you installed IPX/SPX, you can use it immediately. If you installed NetBEUI, you must restart your computer before using it.

To temporarily enable or disable the use of a protocol with a specific connection, open the properties dialog box for that connection and select or clear the box to the left of the protocol.

For performance or compatibility reasons, networking experts may want to specify the order in which Windows should use different protocols. In Windows XP, this option is still available, although it?s well hidden. From the Network Connections folder, choose Advanced Settings from the Advanced menu. The Advanced Settings dialog box, shown here, lets you specify which protocols are available for clients and services on each connection and control the order in which each protocol is used. These settings are strictly for specialized situations. Most networks will do best with the default settings.

Configuring Workgroup Settings
After your network is properly configured, you should be able to see all other computers on your network by opening My Network Places in Windows Explorer. Click the View Workgroup Computers link under Network Tasks in the left pane of My Network Places to see a list of the computers on your network. (This option is not available if your computer is joined to a Windows domain.)

tip - Don?t let the wizard change your workgroup

Every time you run the Network Setup Wizard, you?re required to pass through a page where you enter the name of your workgroup. One usability glitch in this wizard has the potential to temporarily cut off your workgroup if you blast through the wizard without paying enough attention. The wizard automatically defaults to MSHOME as the workgroup name, even if you?ve specified a different name during Windows Setup, manually, or when running the wizard on previous occasions. Don?t just idly click the Next button. Be sure to enter the correct name for your workgroup.
To communicate properly with one another, all the computers on a peer-to-peer Windows network must be members of the same workgroup. "Joining" a workgroup doesn?t require a secret handshake or special security settings. The workgroup name is strictly an organizational tool, which Windows uses to group computers and shared resources on the same network. As the administrator of a workgroup, you might want to change the workgroup name to something that describes your organization or family; if your network is relatively large, your network may have more than one workgroup defined.

The easiest way to change the workgroup to which your computer belongs is by using the Network Setup Wizard. However, you can also adjust this setting manually, using the following steps:

Open Control Panel, System, and then click the Computer Name tab.

Click the Change button. (Don?t be confused by the explanatory text for this button, which mentions domains but doesn?t use the word workgroup at all.) The Computer Name Changes dialog box opens.

Select the Workgroup option and then replace the name of the current workgroup with the name of the workgroup you want to join or create.
Click OK to make the change. Two successive message boxes welcome you to the workgroup and remind you that you have to restart your computer to make the change effective.

A workgroup name can legally contain up to 15 characters. It cannot be the same as the name of any computer in the workgroup, and it cannot contain any of the following characters: ; : " < > * + = \ | ? ,
Setting IP Addresses
Networks that use the TCP/IP protocol rely on IP addresses to route packets of data from point to point. On a TCP/IP network, every computer has a unique IP address, which consists of four 8-bit numbers (each one represented in decimal format by a number between 0 and 255) separated by periods. In addition to the IP address, each computer?s TCP/IP configuration has the following additional settings:

A subnet mask, which tells the network how to distinguish between IP addresses that are part of the same network and those that belong to other networks.
A default gateway, which is a computer that routes packets intended for addresses outside the local network.
One or more Domain Name System (DNS) servers, which are computers that translate domain names (such as IP addresses.
Windows XP provides several methods for assigning IP addresses to networked computers:

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). This is the default configuration for Windows XP Professional and Home Edition. Most Internet service providers start with a pool of IP addresses that are available for use by their customers. ISPs use DHCP servers to assign IP addresses from this pool and to set subnet masks and other configuration details as each customer makes a new connection. When the customer disconnects, the address is held for a period of time and eventually released back to the pool so it can be reused. Many corporate networks use DHCP as well to avoid the hassle of managing fixed addresses for constantly changing resources. The Internet Connection Sharing feature in Windows XP includes a full-fledged DHCP server that automatically configures all TCP/IP settings for other computers on the network. Most routers and residential gateways also incorporate DHCP servers that automatically configure computers connected to those devices.
Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA). When no DHCP server is available, Windows automatically assigns an IP address in a specific private IP range. (For an explanation of how private IP addresses work, see "Public and Private IP Addresses.") If all computers on a subnet are using APIPA addresses, they can communicate with one another without requiring any additional configuration. APIPA was first introduced in May 1998 with Windows 98 and works the same in all versions of Windows released since that time.

"Automatic Windows 98/Me TCP/IP Addressing Without a DHCP Server."
Static IP Addressing. By entering an IP address, subnet mask, and other TCP/IP details in a dialog box, you can manually configure a Windows XP workstation so that its address is always the same. This method takes more time and can cause some configuration headaches, but it allows a high degree of control over network addresses.
Static IP addresses are essential if you plan to set up a Web server, a mail server, a virtual private network (VPN) gateway, or any other computer that needs to be accessible from across the Internet. Even inside a local network, behind a router or firewall, static IP addresses can be useful. For instance, you might want to configure the router so that packets entering your network on a specific port get forwarded to a specific computer. If you use DHCP to assign addresses within the local network, you can?t predict what the address of that computer will be on any given day. But by assigning that computer a static IP address that is within the range of addresses assigned by the DHCP server, you can ensure that the computer always has the same address and is thus always reachable.

Alternate IP Configuration. This feature, which is new in Windows XP, allows you to specify multiple IP addresses for a single network connection (although only one address can be used at a time). This feature is most useful with portable computers that regularly connect to different networks. You can configure the connection to automatically acquire an IP address from an available DHCP server, and then assign a backup address for use if the first configuration isn?t successful.
Public and Private IP Addresses
Any computer that is directly connected to the Internet needs a public IP address?one that can be reached by other computers on the Internet, so that information you request (Web pages and e-mail, for instance) can be routed back to your computer properly. When you connect to an Internet service provider, you?re assigned a public IP address from a block of addresses registered to that ISP. If you use a dial-up connection, your ISP probably assigns a different IP address to your computer (drawn from its pool of available addresses) each time you connect. If you have a persistent connection to your ISP via a DSL or cable modem, your IP address may be permanent.

On a home or small office network, it?s not necessary to have a public IP address for each computer on the network. In fact, configuring a network with all public addresses increases security risks and usually requires an extra fee from your ISP. A safer, less costly solution is to assign a single public IP address to a single computer (or a router or residential gateway). All other computers on the network connect to the Internet through that single address. Each of the computers on the local network has a private IP address that is not reachable from the outside world. To communicate with the Internet, the computer or router on the edge of the network uses a technology called network address translation (NAT) to pass packets back and forth between the single public IP address and the many private IP addresses on the network.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has reserved the following three blocks of the IP address space for use on private networks that are not directly connected to the Internet: ? ? ?
In addition, the Automatic Private IP Addressing feature in all post-1998 Windows versions uses private IP addresses in the range from to

Routers, switches, and residential gateways that use NAT almost always assign addresses from these private ranges. The RG-1000 residential gateway from Agere, for instance, assigns addresses in the 10.0.0.x range (where x is a randomly assigned number between 1 and 255), and Linksys routers typically assign addresses starting with 192.168.1.x. The Internet Connection Sharing feature in Windows XP (as in previous versions of Windows) assigns private IP addresses in the 192.168.0.x range. If you?re setting up a small business or a home network that will not be connected to the Internet, or that will be connected through a single proxy server, you can freely use these addresses without concern for conflicts. Just make sure that all the addresses on the network are in the same subnet.

To set a static IP address, follow these steps:

From Control Panel, open the Network Connections folder and select the connection whose settings you want to change.
Use any of the following techniques to open the properties dialog box for the selected connection:
Select the connection and click the Change Settings Of This Connection link in the Network Tasks pane.
Right-click the connection icon and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.
Double-click the connection icon to open the Status dialog box and then click the Properties button on the General tab.
From the list of installed network components, select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and then click the Properties button.
In the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties dialog box, select Use The Following IP Address and fill in the blanks. Don?t forget to fill in addresses for DNS servers as well.

When assigning static IP addresses, you must fill in all fields correctly. Make a mistake and you?ll lose your Internet connectivity.
Click OK to save your changes. You do not need to reboot after changing your IP configuration.
To set up an alternate IP configuration, follow these steps:

From Control Panel, open the Network Connections folder and select the connection whose settings you want to change.
Click the Change Settings Of This Connection link in the Network Tasks pane, or right-click the connection icon and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.
From the list of installed network components, select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and then click the Properties button.
On the General tab of the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties dialog box, select Obtain An IP Address Automatically.
Click the Alternate Configuration tab and then select the User Configured option.
Enter the IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, and DNS servers for the alternate connection, as shown here.


You can safely ignore the fields that ask you to enter a preferred and alternate WINS server. WINS stands for Windows Internet Name Service, a name resolution system that is sometimes used on large corporate networks with Windows domains. For virtually all home and small business networks, the WINS server details are unnecessary and irrelevant.
Click OK to save your changes. You do not need to restart after setting up an alternate configuration.
When you?ve configured an alternate IP configuration for a network connection, Windows XP looks first for a DHCP server to assign an IP address automatically. If no DHCP server is available, the system falls back to the static IP address defined on the Alternate IP Configuration tab.

Please post back if you have anymore problems or questions.

Collapse -

Trying a couple of things

by sgordley In reply to A bit long but.........

I tried disabling IPv6 as a start. It still came back saying in explorer "Disconnected Network Drive". I am connecting to a W2k box. It is a small home network (6 pcs, 1 network hd). I just think it is bizarre issue as the drive appears connected based on the icon, but "type" discription says disconnected.

Related Discussions

Related Forums