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Networking Advice and Tips in the PracticallyNetworked Forums

Up for discussion this week are networking tips for a forum member who just can't get two XP computers to talk to each other, nor can he get them both online at the same time. We also highlight issues with the Computer Browser service starting and stopping, and we listen in to one forum discussion on Windows Home Server (WHS). If you've been considering WHS you don't want to miss this discussion.

The Practically Networked Forums Spotlight highlights several of the most active or interesting topics from the more than 27,000 posts in the Practically Networked forums. From here you can follow the links to each discussion of interest to offer your own advice, or to ask your own question to our forum members if you are in need of a little networking assistance.

Practically Networked Forum Statistics For December 10, 2007
Threads: 8,081
Posts: 27,322
Registered Members: 10,968

Our Last Count - November 26, 2007
Threads: 8,057
Posts: 27,244
Registered Members: 10,935


This Week's Highlighted Topics

Practically Networked Forums > Practically Networked > Sharing
Thread: Networking Problem

ANSWERED / UNRESOLVED

PracticallyNetworked forum member jackdaw suggests changing the word networking to "notworking." He has two PCs running Windows XP. Not only can neither PC actually see each other, but the second PC also cannot access the Internet, yet both show a connected and shared status.
 

  
jackdaw

Seems to me, we should call it notworking! Here is the set up on my two PCs.

PC1
Is XP Professional
Has NIC 10/100/1000 + crossover cable to identical NIC on PC2
Has the internet connection:
with (checked): TCP/IP, Qos packet scheduler, Client for MS networks, file and printer sharing
via talktalk modem: ISDN channel - SpeedTouch USB - ADSL - PPP
On the advanced tab of the internet connection, ICS is ticked to allow other network users to connect through the internet connection.
On the Networking/Properties tab the IP address is 192.168.0.2 : subnet mask is 255.255.255.0
On the Networking/Properties/Advanced tab/WINS, NetBios is disabled over TCP/IP
Appropriate Firewall disabled


PC2
Is XP Home with SP2
The shared connection has (checked): TCP/IP, Qos packet scheduler, Client for MS networks, file and printer sharing
With IP address is 192.168.0.3 : subnet mask is 255.255.255.0
NetBios is disabled over TCP/IP
Appropriate Firewall disabled

Neither PC can see the other and PC2 can't access the internet. The tooltip for the network icons on each PC shows a status of connected and shared! How is this possible when they're not? Both PCs have individual names and the same workgroup name.

Grrrr and double drat.
 

  
zardiw
PC1 connects to the Internet through modem? Have you set up an ad-hoc network yet? I'd get a router and let it do the networking.
 
  
 cszeto
zardiw, I think your mean ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) versus "ad-hoc" which actually refers to a type of wireless networking. Probably no need of that here as jackdaw has stated at a crossover cable is in used across the systems.

As for your inquiry as well as the possible situation at hand. If ICS is correctly setup on the first PC, then its ICS managed NIC would probably have an assigned IP of 192.168.0.1 versus 192.168.0.2.
 
  
jackdaw
I disconnected the shared network, unistalled the network drivers, closed the 2 pcs down, removed their NIC cards, started windows on each, closed down again, reinstalled both NIC cards, started windows and installed network drivers.

LOCAL AREA CONNECTION ON PC1
Having used the wizard to set up a home or small office network, the following IP address was assigned to the Local Area Network on PC1:

192.168.0.1 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0


IN MY NETWORK PLACES ON EACH PC
PC1 can't see itself or PC2
PC2 can see itself but can't see PC1 or the internet

What have I done wrong and what do I need to do?
 
  
cszeto
Here are two backgrounders around the ICS requirements.

http://forums.practicallynetworked.com/showthread.php?threadid=2017
http://forums.practicallynetworked.com/showthread.php?t=3422

What you might be running into is the situation where your USB modem driver may not be showing up as a NIC (network card). ICS can only be enabled on what Windows "thinks" is an actual NIC. A quick test of this possible situation is an "ipconfig /all" (without the quotes). If it does not show a minimum of two NICs on the system, then ICS can not/will not function on that system.

Back to zardiw's original suggestion, if your DSL modem supports an Ethernet connection too or maybe running a "real" second Ethernet NIC to the system instead of the current USB arrangement.

Practically Networked Forums > Practically Networked > General Discussions
THREAD: Computer Browser Service - starts but then stops immediately

ANSWERED / UNRESOLVED

An older thread started by one forum member discusses an issue with one system not being able to browse the network. In this case the Computer Browser service is not running - and when started again, it just stops. More recently another forum member also has this issue and uses some helpful links posted in the discussion thread to make it work.

  
ronsou
I have a home Windows XP (only) network - some machines XP Pro and some XP Home.

All machines can get out to internet, and print. But one (and only one)
machine is unable to Browse the Network. It is XP Home. I noticed the
Computer Browser service is not running. If I try running the service, it
says The computer browser service started then stopped. The Event Viewer
just has informational messages that it started and stopped - no errors.
The server, workstation, and netbios helper services are all running.

The machine can PING the local browse master fine and in every other way
seems to be networked just fine. When other machines browse the network,
it is visible. (I checked which machine is the Browse master using
ntbstat -a. And the browse master is an always on, wired machine - best
one for browse master.) I can NET VIEW and NET USE from that machine fine
too (to any machine on the network, including the browse master) - but only
because I mapped it using LMHOST file. Before the LMHOST mapping, I could
not NET USE, though I could get to internet and other machines could NET USE
or NET VIEW it.

Any ideas why the Computer Browser service does not want to keep running ?
Does it secretly write messages somewhere that might give me a hint, or is
there a VERBOSE option for it ? I checked the process that the service runs and tried to run it from the command line, but it also ends immediately and with no message output at all. Thanks.

 
  
Greenstead
Try this:

"The Computer Browser service does not start and event ID 7024 is logged when you restart your Windows XP Service Pack 2-based computer"
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/875362/en-us
 

  
 ronsou

I appreciate the response, but in my case, the service does not terminate with an error (like the KB article you pointed me to). It starts then stops without an exception raised. Also, I did turn off firewall in trying to troubleshoot it - it did not matter.

Interestingly, I did try just disabling the Computer Browser service, and the network browsing behavior changed. When it was enabled and had previously started and stopped, I would get an error that the network was not accessible (for browsing - the computer is networked and can see other computers, connect to shares, print, and get out to internet.) But with the service disabled, there is no error raised in trying to browse the network - it just doesn't see other computers.
 

  
 venkateshvr
Event Log 7035 & 7036

Hi Greenstead - Thanks for the Help. I was able to resolve my issue by refering the KB Article.
  
 KDGElite
The service automatically stop if your registry settings are not configured to maintain the browse list. To verify your settings do the following:

GoTo Start>Run
Type regedit
Press enter
Navigate to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Parameters

The MaintainServerList value should be set to Yes or Auto. If this Value is No then the computer browser service will not start.

Hope this helps.


Practically Networked Forums > Practically Networked > Applications/Software
THREAD: Windows Home Server
RESOURCES/FAQ

In this PracticallyNetworked discussion several of our forum members discuss the new Windows Home Server (WHS), its benefits, online reviews, some issues they have encountered, plus add-ins for WHS.

  
 Greenstead
Windows Home Server (WHS) is a new product from Microsoft. I have been beta testing it and using it since the beginning of this year. I am not a WHS expert but can offer my experience and opinions on it. I am using WHS on a home network of mixed wired/wireless PCs and laptops of various OS, with ~1 TB of storage. WHS is new, and like all new systems has some problems but is basically stable and great potential for the home.

Overall I would recommend it worth considering on a home network to provide backup of home PCs and centralized storage.

You can read more about WHS here:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/default.mspx

Anyone with their own experience / opinions please join in.
 
  
 Vbeal
Microsoft Windows Home Server was also covered this week on the PracticallyNetworked Web site, here:

http://www.practicallynetworked.com/review.asp?pid=694

We used it for about 3 weeks. Its unbelievable how easy home server is to set-up and use, even if you know next to nothing about servers, networking and so on.

We're using Vista on the PCs and XP on the laptops. For the server we used a P4 3.1GB box with 3GB memory, 2 hard drives (an 80 and a 230 GB).

I think those who are concerned about back-ups and those who don't yet have a backup regime in place will be especially interested in WHS (which lets you backup ten PCs).
 
  
 Sooner Al
I just converted my old desktop into a WHS box this last Thursday. It really is a quite impressive, IMHO, piece of software. My WHS is a Pentium 4 1.8 Ghz box, 512 Meg RAM with a 160 Gig and a 20 Gig hard drive.

The WHS backups my wife's XP Pro machine and my Vista Ultimate laptop automatically on a daily basis, something I never had in the past. I also setup a remote access account and privileges for my brother (who lives in Florida) and myself. My brother has access to shared folders/files while I have access to shared folders/files and my own specifically owned folder. He also has a WHS running and I have similar privileges on his machine, (ie. access to shared folders/files only). My wife only has access to shared folders/files and her specifically owned folder on the WHS. She does not have remote access privileges.

Remote Desktop access is easy and fast to my wife's XP Pro machine if I need it.

All access to my WHS and shared folders/files or Remote Desktop to access my wife's XP Pro machine is via a web based interface that requires two ports to be opened on any firewall/router the WHS is behind, ie. TCP Port 443 and TCP Port 4125.

You can either get a free fully qualified domain name (FQDN) from Microsoft to remotely call your WHS or as in my case use an existing DynDNS FQDN. I use a DynDNS FQDN simply because my current Belkin F5D7230-4 broadband router has built-in support for DynDNS. My brother uses a MS supplied FQDN.

Some additional resources from MS:

http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/7/2/272d14a7-eb96-4dde-a90e-3e5b4bc388af/WHS%20Technical%20Brief%20-%20Remote%20Access.pdf

http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/A/9/3A97EE0D-A268-42E0-A20C-B8C88E27BF84/Windows_Home_Server_Media_Sharing.pdf

http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/F/C/2FC09C20-587F-4F16-AA33-C6C4C75FB3DD/Windows_Home_Server_Drive_Extender.pdf

None MS resources:

http://mswhs.com/
http://www.wegotserved.co.uk/windows-home-server-add-ins/
http://www.wegotserved.co.uk/whs-how-to/
 
  
 Vbeal
There is a new article up on PracticallyNetworked today called "Expand Windows Home Server With Add-ins". It takes a look at three different add-ins (Whiist, PhotoSync, and AutoExit) and also has links to more add-ins you can download and try.

http://www.practicallynetworked.com/howto/120307windows_home_server_addins.htm

Anyone using any add-ins they'd recommend?

I like AutoExit - mainly because I can shut my eleven year olds' computer off when his "five more minutes please!" turns into ten. It works great for that!

I also tried the Client Info add-in but had mixed results. Sometimes it displayed correct server stats, sometimes it didn't - and rarely were the client stats right.
 
  
 Sooner Al
A fellow named Scott, aka sedin26, posted a procedure on the MS WHS discussion forums to setup either a PPTP VPN or OpenVPN server on a WHS machine for remote client backup. Check it out. Some of you may find it of interest.

http://forums.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2506018&SiteID=50
 

(Ed. Note: The forum postings in this story may have been edited for grammar and clarity.)

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