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Networking file share horrors


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I have come to the conclusion that Microsoft created File Sharing with the sole intent of driving everyone insane. It is absolutely diabolical. Over the years I have consumed endless hours trying to track down mysterious problems which suddenly, and for no apparent reason, emerge to either prevent access to another networked computers or sharing.

My latest problem started when I upgraded one Computer.

Current Setup:

Two networked Computers linked with crossover cat5 cable running through a D-Link 704P router.

Computer (call it "A") is a Pentium 4. Computer "B" is the new upgrade (duo core Pentium)

Internet access is via Optus Cable Modem.

Computers OS is Windows XP3

The two computers are for my personal use only. If anyone else uses either one, they do so with my knowledge and under my supervision. On this basis I set them up with Administrator access only. No Guest or other user. The only password used is to gain access the Computers on startup.

Current situation:

Internet access is no problem. Both computers work fine.

Both Computer icons are shown on the desktop of each Computer monitor

If operating from computer A, I can access the shared folders/files from Computer B and move them to Computer A as required.

If I try to access the shared folders of Computer A ,from either Computer A or B I cannot. The popups gives me a whole variety of reasons why. The most common one is the following:

"\\computername\filename is not accessible. You may not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the adminitrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions.

Not enough server storage is available to process this command."

I can confirm the following:

My firewall Zone Alarm Pro is working as it should and is not impeding anything.

Windows firewall is off.

"File and Print sharing" shows up in the Network properties of Networked Connections and is ticked on both Computers.

"Use Simple File Sharing" under Folder Options is on (ticked) on both Computers.

Setup needed:

As Security is not a concern, I want File Sharing to be as simple as possible. (Is that too much to ask says he sobbing?). What I want is direct access to Sharing to and fro both Computers by the Administrator (me in other words.)

Now in previous versions of xp either as xp1 or xp2 I have had file sharing working successfully for periods of time, pretty much on this basis although I cannot remember if I had it working when using a password to access the Computers access.


I have looked for the answer to my problem on the Internet and found an horrendous amount of similar problems and have tried a lot of the suggested solutions without success. (However, most of these "solutions" refer to the problems encountered when setting up for multiple users.)

I have tried to give a clear a picture as possible of my frustrating situation, and unfortunately been a bit long winded but if anyone can pin point the problem,I would be eternally grateful.

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+1 for disable simple file sharing. From my experience, it can cause dramas.

Also I'm not sure about now, but a few years ago I had huge dramas with Zone Alarm. It caused problems with file sharing over a peer to peer network (like you've got). Even uninstalling it didn't solve it for me. It seemed like a great firewall, but definitely stuffed with the connection between my PCs. After a clean install and just using Windows firewall, with simple file sharing disabled, no problem. I would suspect they've solved those issues but now, but not sure as I haven't used it since then.

I think the best way to do what you want, is to use the (hidden) Administrative shares that are already enabled by default in Windows (ie C$ for C:\ drive, D$ for D:\ drive and so on - $ will hide a share). Also sometimes the PC naming in Windows filesharing can be problematic and intermittent. A solution to this is to set static IP addresses (eg and use that instead.

So now to access C:\ drive on the remote PC with IP of use this: \\\C$ It will ask for your username and password, but you can check the box to save these, so it will not ask again. To make it even easier, why not map the remote shares to Network drives such as X:\? If you allow these to be persistant then everytime you turn your PC on, they will be there in My Computer.

This takes a little setting up, but beauty is that once setup it will work consistently without problem, and will also be secure, should your circumstance change, you migrate to a wireless network (you will need to change the static IPs to the wireless connections) or a friend brings their PC around, etc, etc.

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In order for "Simple File Sharing" to work, the builtin guest account must be active (I think), which isn't good practice anyway. Here's how I set up scenarios similar to yours:

This method only works on XP PRO. If you have Home ed., it can still work, but has to be set up a different way.

First, for testing purposes, turn off all firewalls.

Can you ping each computer (by NETBIOS name) from the other one?

Can I assume the administrator account you use to access both computers has the same username and password on each computer? (for this work flawlessly, the answer should be "yes").

Open group policy editor (Start --> Run... ---> gpedit.msc)

Go to Computer config --> Windows Settings --> Security Settings --> Local Policies --> Security Options

Set the policy "Network Acess: Sharing and security model for local accounts" to "Classic - local users authenticate as themselves"

Do this for both computers. Reboot.

You may have to go into the sharing properties of the folders you are trying to share to make sure that the appropriate permissions for access are set. Sharing permissions are separate from NTFS file permissions, but both can affect the ability to access files over a network share.

OK, what you have essentially done is disable simple file sharing. when you attempt to access a file, you will authenticate as the user you are logged into the local computer, so as long as the username/password is the same for both computers and has admin rights, you should have no problems there. If the username/password is different for each computer, it will still work, but it will ask you for this information each time you access the shared folder.

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Something which doesn't seem to have been highlighted (as far as I can see) - if you have XP Home, then there is no option: it's Simple File Sharing with no option for any other, only XP Pro or equivalent has the more advanced mode.

This caused me a certain amount of trouble when trying to share on a mixed network with XP Home, XP Pro and WinMe, as some of the details seem to have been deliberately been obfuscated.

The other 'feature', is that shares made prior to a change such as the workgroup name can be not seen until unshared and remade.

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