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"Murphy was an optimist!"

My workstation is almost working September 25, 2009 10:19 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Software, Technology
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After fighting with trying to clone my old 60 GB hard drive to my new 500 GB hard drive, I finally gave in and started from scratch. Since I was installing from Windows XP sp1 I was limited to 137 GB partition. Once Windows XP installed successfully I upgrade to sp 2 then sp 3 and installed all security patches and updates. Then I began reinstalling software beginning with Avast antivirus first quickly followed by iTunes.

Everything seemed to be going very well until I decided to actually switch back to working on the machine. I tried to remap my development servers but cannot browse my network. I get the error message:

WORKGROUP 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.

This list of servers for this workgroup is not currently available

Guess I’m network troubleshooting this weekend.

Update: I made an important discovery today. None of the computers in the house see each other anymore. I used to be able to open Windows explorer and browse to My Network Places then to Entire Network then to Microsoft Windows Network then to MSHome (the workgroup) then to a specific machine that was visible on the network. However at the workgroup level the error message above occurs. I thought it was specific to this Windows XP machine but I reproduced it on another Windows XP machine. Then I tried browsing the network with Windows Vista and also could not see any of the LAN. So on my newly installed Windows XP machine, I tested pinging various machines on the network with success. So in Windows Explorer I typed a machine name and a known shared directory "\\mickey\www" and successfully browsed the remote directory. I then successfully mapped the drive. On my Ubuntu Linux 8.04 workstation, I clicked Places then Network Servers then Windows Network and get the message "Unable to mount location – failed to retrieve share list from server" which in the past would have simply listed all the devices on the local area network.

Comments after advertisement


1. WillFull - September 25, 2009

Obvious first question(s) to ask:

Are you logged in as an administrator?
Are you running a domain server on your home network?

2. Doug McCaughan - September 25, 2009

Yes. And no. I’ve never had a machine come up and not instantly see all the other machines on the network.

3. tim - September 28, 2009

so – use windows home server to backup an image of the xp machine – or better yet acronis or similar to create a disk image of the old machine
install windows 7 – then create a virtual machine for xp of the old machine
problem solved
network issues – these mostly go away when running vista or win 7 – xp has major issues with networks that change

4. Doug McCaughan - September 28, 2009

Windows 7 isn’t an option for me yet. But I like the suggestion!

This network issue has something to do with the router. All the machines on the network can ping each other regardless of OS. If I specify the machine as \\machinename in Windows Explorer I can browse all its shared directories. However, Network Neighborhood, My Network Places, and Ubuntu’s Places all fail to browse the network for machines. Some kind of discovery failure. As I thought this through, it occurs to me that not long ago I had to restore the router back to factory defaults. I had to have messed up a network setting at that time. I’ve eliminated uPNP as the possible culprit.