If you have stumbled upon this blog entry, then you have encountered the above error message. Is it a router issue? What’s the problem with my office network? There are a tremendous number of people encountering the same problem. So, you are not unique in your quest to locate the ‘right’ solution.
I’ve been working the same problem on my folk’s office network and it took me over 15 hours to find the ‘right’ solution for them. I will now attempt to iterate how I solved this issue. Please pardon me if I stray.
- Computer ‘A’ is unable to connect to computer ‘B’.
- Laptop ‘C’ is unable to connect to computer ‘B’.
- Computer ‘B’ CAN connect to computer ‘A’ and laptop ‘C’ (files can be copied to and from both machines).
- All three computers are able to connect to the internet through the router and the DSL modem.
- Computer ‘B’ is connected to the network using its built-in Ethernet card to a Linksys 4-port Wi-Fi Router.
- Computer ‘A’ and Laptop ‘C’ are connected to the same router wirelessly (using Wi-Fi).
- All computers are running WinXP Pro with SP2.
- Update the firmware on the Linksys Router. You’ll need to download the latest firmware from Linksys and save it. Update the firmware by firing up your browser and entering the address of the router into the address bar. Of course, this will need to be done from a computer that is physically connected to the router.
- Uninstall ‘File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Network’ from ALL of the computers on the network. Control Panel -> Network Connections -> Local Area Network -> Properities. Highlight ‘File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Network’ and press ‘Uninstall’. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t using the Local Area Network to connect to the network, this will uninstall file and print sharing from all networking devices.
- Instead of performing a ‘soft’ reset of the Router (like I had tried many times before) or turning it off, waiting 5 minutes and turning it back on… break out the installation CD and allow the CD software to walk you through installing the initial stages of your network. Remember to keep track of the Workgroup name you want all your computers to associate with. If your network is partly ‘Wi-Fi’, then remember to keep track of the SSID of the network.
- Share whichever folder you want each computer to share with each other on the network. Since we uninstalled ‘File and Print Sharing….’, this will fire-up its installation wizard and walk you through the process.
- Double-check each computer and verify that each has a different name, but the same workgroup. Control Panel -> System -> Computer Name. Click on ‘Change’ if either of them need to be altered.
- Restart each computer.
- Connect to the Router through a directly connected PC and verify that your computers now are listed in the DHCP Client table. Pour through your Router’s manual if you don’t know how to do this. Both wired and wirelessly connected computers should be listed.
- Finished… that is if everything before went smoothly.
Things to Remember:
- Don’t worry about keeping the router’s DHCP on and using that part of its functionallity. Only unless it is completely necessary to give each computer its own static IP, should you even consider disabling your router’s DHCP.
- Enable NetBIOS on TCP/IP? What? This could bring forth many a security issue that you aren’t prepared to deal with. Leave that setting alone and probably in its DEFAULT setting. Besides, I have only seen this implimented on a network using Active Directory and was performed to allow SMS to work.
- If you are having to use a password or log into a networked computer and are NOT using a Peer-to-Peer network, then why are you networking these computers in the first place?
- Mapping a Shared Folder as a Network Drive has some benefits. It can be tedious to keep things straight when setting it up, but the visibility factor tends to outweigh the initial grunt-work.
More Things to Remember
IRPStackSize in the Registry? Does this work? Well, I did find one of the computers that did NOT have this entry. I added it through HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\ CURRENTCONTROLSET\ SERVICES\ LANMANSERVER\ Parameters\. There should be an entry for IRPStackSize. The default is 15 (in Decimal). If it doesn’t exist, then create a new DWORD entry titled “IRPStackSize” (remember that registry keys are CASE SENSITIVE). After creating the entry, locate [Base], clicking on the radio-button to select [Decimal]. Type in ’15’ into the [Value Data] field and click [OK].
- I have never run into a problem with any anti-virus programs and networking computers, so I doubt that the current products get in the way of your ability to make your network WORK. Not that it couldn’t happen, but worry about this ONLY if the problems began AFTER updating your virus protection software.
A Couple MORE Things
- Unless you are convinced it is the root cause of your networking issues, do not mess with the Windows XP Firewall. Perhaps, you MAY have accidentally denied an activity you really should have accepted, but this rarely happens.
- 3rd Party Firewall? I’ve never used one, except for the Router’s built-in firewall. Could 3rd party software cause an unintended network problem? Is the Pope Catholic?
- Never turn off the Windows Firewall. Just don’t.
Again, the most likely culprit will be whatever software installation, registry tweak or hardware installation you did last before the entire network went bonkers. If you can’t think of anything, update your router’s firmware and re-install the network from the ground – up. It is far better to rebuild, than to massage each computer onto the network.
I hope this helps.