Please Help Me Network My Computers

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Jonathan Bones

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Greetings fellows.

I'm a networking neophyte. Just bought a second computer, and I want to connect it to my old computer for the purpose of file sharing/transfer. In this post, I'll refer to my new computer as "master", and my old computer as "slave".

I connect to the internet via DSL modem. Previously, I used just an ethernet hub to share the internet between my family's computers. Recently, I upgraded to a Linksys wireless router (and quit using the hub entirely). Note that I'm still connecting my two computers to the router via cat5-- I'm not using the wireless, myself.

Basically, I just want to be able to get at all the files on slave without having to physically transfer them to master. Slave uses XP Pro, master uses XP x64. My buddy told me this would actually be pretty simple. Just make sure that they're assigned to the same workgroup, and then set the necessary folders/drives to shared in properties.

I did this, and it seems to work until I actually try to connect to the other computer via the workgroup. I get the following message: "[name] is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions. The network path was not found."

I've tried a couple of solutions, but nothing's worked as of yet. Sometimes, slave can't see master via the workgroup at all. But master can usually see slave (though still cannot connect to it). The way it is right now, each computer can see it's own shares, but not each other. I should have the obvious out of the way. Both accounts have administrative privileges, I connect to the internet only through the LAN/router... the user accounts even have the same name. All the workgroup settings, etc., appear to be correct and match.

Note that I couldn't get it to work even back when I had the hub-- so it doesn't appear to be the new router that's the problem.


Is there a dummy's guide to setting up a workgroup, somewhere? Or do I need to seek in-depth troubleshooting? One way or the other, I just want to get my computers talking to each other. It's been a few weeks already, and it's becoming a frustration.

Thanks so much for your advice!
 

Jonathan Bones

Baseband Member
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Online, yes, absolutely-- via DHCP through the router. (I have been having my LAN just "die" on me, but that has something to do with the router itself and I assume is unrelated. I've updated the firmware and everything.)

Ping? Uh, like I say, I'm a networking neophyte. ;P This involves typing stuff into command prompt, right? I know what ping means, but I don't know how to use it for troubleshooting.
 

Law

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If you know the name of the remote computer, open up command prompt and just type in ping computername. Do it vice versa so both device get the reply. Then we'll see what to do after.
 

Jonathan Bones

Baseband Member
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I'm going to enter a family member's laptop into this (which connects wirelessly). I don't need to share with it, but it might prove useful while testing. I'll call it "lap".


Results of ping test:

Master could not connect to slave. Master could connect to lap.

Slave could not connect to master or lap.

Lap could not connect to slave, but could connect to master.


I performed the test both with and without software firewalls enabled-- Tiny on master, Zone Alarm on slave, and Windows Firewall on lap. Results did not change.

Looks like the trouble is with slave?


An unrelated question-- should file and printer sharing be enabled for the local area network connection? (I know it shouldn't be for PPPoE, don't worry-- and I'm not dialing PPPoE when my router is working, anyway.)
 

Law

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I want to try one more ping test, this time it will be pinging the IP address instead of the name.

Example ping 192.168.2.2
Try that on computer and see if you can get some reply, if so might have to do the following below.


File sharing should be enable on the NIC that is connected to the router on all computer.

Now try to get into the slave computer NIC Properties-TCP/IP Properties/Advanced/WINS and see if NetBIOS is enable or at default. Do this on all computers also.
 

Jonathan Bones

Baseband Member
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Law,

Some software I'm running on slave seems to be interfering with its ability to connect to the internet all of a sudden. Why, and why now? I have no idea. This is something I can get to the bottom of, but it's late already and I don't have the energy to do it tonight. And as the computer can't connect to the internet, I obviously can't go forward with your troubleshooting. I'll figure it out tomorrow, and will take your next step at that time.

Thank you so much for everything. I didn't excpect this kind of individual attention, and I'm very appreciative.
 

Jonathan Bones

Baseband Member
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75
Actually, I think it might just be my router acting up again. I can connect to the internet if I dial out via PPPoE, but that's not something I should have to do.

But, it's late anyway, so I will retire for the night. I honestly didn't expect a reply so soon-- I thought I'd go to bed, and there might be something when I came back tomorrow.

So, I'll look at it again tomorrow, and post my results.

Thanks, once again.
 

Jonathan Bones

Baseband Member
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75
Okay, back at it.

I don't have lap with me at this time, so testing will be limited to master and slave.


I pinged using IP addresses as you instructed. I assume the "192.168.2.2" you mentioned was just an example-- my router assigns slightly different numbers, which I found by clicking on my LAN icon and going to support. Results:

Master could not ping slave via IP. "Request timed out."
Slave could ping master.

Now, I don't know my stuff here-- but isn't this the opposite of what would be expected?


So, I tried pinging by computer name again.

Master couldn't ping slave.
Slave could ping master!

This is the exact opposite of last night. What gives? Could it have something to do with the order in which the computers connect to the LAN? Tonight, master represents xxx.xxx.xxx.100. Slave is xxx.xxx.xxx.101. (I doubt listing these internal IPs is a security risk, but I don't know heads from tails when it comes to networking so I'm playing it safe.) I don't know what they were last night.


I went to check whether NetBIOS was enabled. It was set to "default" on both computers. I assume either default or on is okay? I set them both to "on" just to see if it made a difference. It hasn't to my knowledge. Would you recommend I return them to default, or does it matter?


Finally, here's what trying to access the workgroup looks like tonight:

Master can see both itself and slave. But when I try to connect to slave, I get the famous "resource not available, might not have permission, etc." message.

Slave get the error message when I simply try to access the workgroup. But I assume it can see itself because its shared folders do show up in My Network Places.

Remember last night, both computers could connect to the workgroup, but could only see themselves. The present circumstance I've encountered before-- back when I was trying to solve this on my own a couple of weeks ago. Master could commonly see slave, but never connect to it. Odd that slave can ping master, yet master's the only computer that can connect to the workgroup?


So I'm at a loss. Thanks for everything so far, Law. Got any more ideas?
 
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