How to restore Microsoft Windows Network in XP Home?

By jim.poltrone ·
I want to network my laptop and desktop computers together so I can share files and printers. I have a crossover cable connecting the two. The desktop computer runs XP Home w/SP3; the laptop runs XP Pro w/SP3. I used the Network Setup Wizard on both systems to establish a workgroup connection, called MSHOME. I can ping each of the machines, regardless of which machine I'm on.

The problem is, when I go to the desktop, I can't see its own shared folders or printers, and "View Workgroup Computers" is empty. I traced this to a missing "Microsoft Windows Network" icon under "Entire Network". I've tried several things to restore this, including removing SP3, reinstalling Windows, and reinstalling SP3. But that didn't work.

I'm stumped. I'd rather not have to resort to thumb drives to move files across the machines.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Answers

Collapse -

hummm X over cable... save the headache, get a switch.

by CG IT In reply to How to restore Microsoft ...

your using a cross over cable between the 2 machines, so are they connected to the internet as well?

Collapse -

Only when I dial in

by jim.poltrone In reply to hummm X over cable... sa ...

I'm only connected to the Internet when I dial in. (My preferred DSL provider doesn't service my area, and my cable TV company gets enough of my money already.) It's not a shared connection.

I had a 4-connection hub, but put it in storage when I tried to upgrade to a wireless router (see previous posts for more details). Even if I went back to the hub, I think I'd still have the same problem because the desktop machine can't even see itself in the list of workgroup computers.

Collapse -

Is IP6 enabled?

by IC-IT In reply to Only when I dial in

**** it away and reboot.

Collapse -

Another check

by Jacky Howe In reply to Only when I dial in

Double check your Logon ID and password. Also try this if removing TCP IPv6 doesn't work.
<i>Keep us informed as to your progress if you require further assistance.</i>
<i>If you think that any of the posts that have been made by all TR Members, have solved or contributed to solving the problem, please Mark them as <b>Helpful</b> so that others may benefit from the outcome.

Collapse -

using X-over cables can be touchy....

by CG IT In reply to Only when I dial in

since you mentioned that you have read the Microsoft 8 part series in setting up a small network, then you should be familiar with the procedure of creating a workgroup [not using the existing workgroup] joining all the computers to the same workgroup, then sharing files and folders. Further, you have to install file and print sharing protocol and have it enabled [find this in the network properties of the Network card.

note: all computers must be on the same subnet meaning that if you use the private address through 254 , mask then all computer's addresses must be using that same range and subnet mask. Again, this is in the 8 part series. Crossover cable [direct connection] requires some configuration to work.

here's a Microsoft technet article part 1 of 8 parts on how to get it to work.

if you follow these instructions you should be able to share files and folders between 2 machines via a direct connection.

Collapse -

I tried it already

by jim.poltrone In reply to using X-over cables can b ...

I tried everything Jacky suggested (with the exception of wiping clean and reinstalling XP).

Client for Microsoft Windows is installed and checked. File and printer sharing for Microsoft Windows is installed and checked. TCP/IP is installed, checked, and configured. But still, when I try to view my workgroup computers, all I get is a ding. And if I try to create a new network place, Microsoft Windows Network still doesn't show up under Entire Network.

I fail to see how/why switching from my crossover cable to a hub will solve my problem.

Collapse -

The 2 articles mentioned

by CG IT In reply to I tried it already

are proven methods of setting up a small network and connecting 2 computers together via cross over cable. I've setup many a network for small businesses that don't need a domain the same way the small network article mentions [not using the network connection disk metnod that you take around to other computers]. I've also used the cross over cable method but only for test bed stuff, but I know that works.

The only thing I can suggest is start over again from the beginning [first join each computer to a workgroup named workgroup, reboot then start setting up your network].

As far as using a hub, instead of a direct connection,

here is what the 8 part series, part 1 says about direct connections.

Part 1. Introduction: Configure a Direct Cable Connection with Windows XP Home Edition
For the occasional exchange of data between a laptop computer and a desktop computer, you do not have to use a whole network. If you use only a direct cable connection and a cable, you create a real network connection that you can quickly create and disconnect.

The direct cable connection is a connection between a guest computer and a host computer. When you use this connection, you can connect two computers to each other.? The host computer provides resources such as folders, drives, or even a printer.
? The guest computer uses the resources that the host computer provides.
Strict task sharing results in a one-way direct cable connection. The resources can only be accessed in one direction. To change the direction, disconnect an existing connection, reassign the tasks, and then reestablish the connection.

The last part here is the reason using a switch [not hub] is prefered. A switch provides 2 way connections between hosts. A direction connection is one way. The guest computer accesses the host computer and only the guest computer can access resources. The host computer can not access resources on the guest computer.

If you want the host computer to access stuff on the guest computer, you have to change the guest to host and reestablish the connection. It's some work and a pain to do where if you have a $25.00 USD 4 port switch, setting up simple file/folder sharing is easy to do.

If you still want to use a cross over cable and having problems, it's possible that you have to guest and host changed up or check to make sure your physical connections and equipment are correct.

Collapse -

I did what you suggested and it still doesn't work

by jim.poltrone In reply to The 2 articles mentioned

I replaced the crossover cable with the hub and "spokes" (straight network cables), which slows my throughput speed to 10 Mbps. (I'm not spending more money for a network switch.) I then reviewed the instructions in the 8-part series and followed the instructions. The only part that was new to me was covered in part 5 (Set Up An Incoming Connection). I removed and reinstalled Client for Microsoft Networks and File and Printer Sharing.

Despite all this, I am still having the following problems, which is what I had when I posted the first article in the thread:
1) When I try to view my workgroup computers on my desktop computer, I get the "ding" sound and nothing more.
2) When I try to add a network place via browsing, and click on "Entire Network", I don't see "Microsoft Windows Network" listed, just "Microsoft Terminal Services" and "Web Client Network". (I expect to see Microsoft Windows Network listed; it shows up on XP Pro.)
3) If I run "\\orac" (the name of my desktop computer) from my desktop computer, I'm told "the network path was not found". (The machine can't find itself, even though it can ping itself.)
4) When I try to run "\\orac" from the laptop, I'm told the machine is not accessible, and that access is denied.

I really appreciate all the help, but I think Jacky's right. The only way I can truly fix this problem is to wipe clean and start over with a fresh reinstall.

Collapse -

network problem isn't an operating system problem

by CG IT In reply to I did what you suggested ...

if you can not ping other machines on the network, then you have connectivity problem. Connectivity problems can mean that the computer your trying to ping is not on the same subnet, a network card is bad, a network cable is bad, you have a corrupt TCP/IP stack, etc.

Not being able to see computers that belong to the same workgroup usually means that they either have connectivity problems [either their not on the same subnet [address and subnet mask are wrong], a firewall is blocking or they have lost their workgroup membership.

If you don't see any shares listed in my network places at all, did you share something? have to share a file or folder for it to be seen. If you have not shared anything on the computer, try \\<computer name>\C$ [not your computer but the other one ] which is the administrative share for the C: drive. If both are on the same subnet,have connectivity with each other [ping], you should be prompted for credentials to log on.

If your trying to ping one's self, [your own computer] you use the the loopback address you should always get a reply from yourself. If you don't, you may have a faulty network card which might be the cause for connectivity problems with other computers.

Note: loopback address is an address that sends outgoing signals back to the same computer for testing. In a TCP/IP network, the loopback IP address is, and pinging it will always return a reply.

before you try to connect to yourself using the \\<same computer\<share name> think about how data packets must travel. They must go out the network adapter and then come back in to the same network adapter. If there is not way for a packet to travel out and then back in, you will always get "network path not found" as there is no network path to yourself [\\yourself , rather the "path" on the computer your using for any file or folder on your computer is C<directory>\<folder>\<file>

Note: I'm not an advocate of a clean install to solve problems unless it's a registry problem that can not be fixed.

Collapse -

Connecting via crossover

by Jacky Howe In reply to I tried it already

can be a pain sometimes even when your PC's are running properly. By trying to connect again through your Hub should tell you wether or not you are going to be able to do it without a reinstall of the OS. The command to reload "regsvr32 wkssvc.dll" didn't work on my working system either, so we were barking up the wrong tree there.

Related Discussions

Related Forums