File and Printer Sharing - Detailed Steps
Before you go any further in learning how to troubleshoot File and Printer
Sharing on a Windows network, be sure that youíve done the preliminary
troubleshooting steps and the TCP/IP
troubleshooting steps and confirmed that the computers can communicate
See our articles on Simple File Sharing
and Windows XP Professional File Sharing
for for help with problems involving file permissions and access rights.
Use the Same Workgroup
Name on All Computers
This isnít strictly necessary, since Windows networking supports multiple
workgroups on a network, but it makes troubleshooting and browsing the network
By default, Windows XP uses the workgroup name MSHOME. You can use a different
name if you want.† For best results on all versions of Windows, use 1-8 characters
(upper case letters, numbers), with no blanks.
To specify the workgroup name in Windows XP, right click My Computer
and go to Properties | Computer Name | Change.† In Windows
95/98/Me, go to Control Panel | Network | Identification.
Check the Network
These network components must be enabled on each computer:
- File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks (FPS) - makes
a computerís resources available to other computers on the network.
- Client for Microsoft Networks (CMN) - lets a computer access
resources belonging to other computers on the network.
In Windows XP, open the Network Connections folder, right click your
local area network connection, click Properties, put check marks in the
boxes for FPS and CMN, and click OK to close the window.† Then, click
Advanced | Advanced Settings, click your local area network connection
under Connections, look under Bindings, and make sure that
the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) box has a check mark for
FPS and CMN.† If any other protocols appear in the list of bindings, you must
un-check the boxes for those protocols.† Using more than one protocol on even
one computer makes Windows networking unreliable.†
Windows 95/98/Me, go to Control Panel | Network, double click
the TCP/IP‑>Adapter entry for your local area network, and click
Bindings.† Put check marks in the boxes for FPS and CMN.† If youíve installed
any other protocols, you must go to the Bindings tab of their
Protocol‑>Adapter entries and un-check the same boxes. Using
more than one protocol on even one computer makes Windows networking unreliable.
Network Neighborhood and My Network Places
In Windows 95 and 98, Network Neighborhood shows an icon for each computer
on the network that has FPS enabled.† Double clicking the icon shows that computerís
shared resources: disks, folders, and printers.† Itís possible that a computer
has FPS enabled but has no shared resources.† If so, the window that opens when
you double click the computer name will be empty.
In Windows Me and XP, My Network Places contains shortcuts to some or all
of the shared disks and folders on the network.† You can add shortcuts by clicking
Add a network place, and you can delete shortcuts by right-clicking them
and clicking Delete.† Itís quite possible that a shared resource doesnít
appear in My Network Places.† You might have deleted it, or Windows might not
have noticed it yet.† Computer and workgroup names donít appear unless you create
a shortcut to them.†
Sometimes, shortcuts in My Network Places seem to ďgo badĒ for no apparent
reason.† When you double click one that was working previously, you get an ominous
looking error message:
Since youíre the administrator, you ask yourself whether you have access permissions,
and you tell yourself that you do.† But Windows XP doesnít listen to you, and
it wonít let you access the shared disk or folder.
Delete the bad shortcuts, and let Windows re-create them.
Test Network Access to Computers and Shares
If access through Network Neighborhood or My Network Places isnít working,
try connecting directly to another computer or to one of its shared disks or
folders.† Click Start | Run, then type one of these commands in
the box and click OK:
For example, if a computer named XPPro has IP address 192.168.0.10
and has a shared folder named Download, the commands would be:
If access by computer name fails, but access by IP address works, thereís
a problem with NetBIOS name resolution using NetBIOS