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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have developed a problem on my network that I can’t get rid of. I have browsed through this forum for answers and checked a few things, but I have not found an answer to my particular situation. Essentially, my Ethernet network can not browse other machines in the “workgroup”. Here is my set-up, and the stuff I have tried so far:-

Three tower machines connected to a Netgear switch, plus two NAS drives on the same switch. All machines are running XP Pro, SP3. I have built all three machines myself, and previously had few problems. The machine names and specs are:-
Machine 1, named Phenom, CPU Phenom 9950, 3.25 GB RAM, Sapphire 4850 graphics card
Machine 2, named Intel-Antec, CPU Intel Pentium E2200, 2 GB RAM, Graphics nVidia 6600GT
Machine 3, named Panrix, CPU AMD Athlon, 1 GHz, 384 MB RAM,

The first machine, Phenom, has still got an intermittent problem with giving me a blue screen of death every other week, but that pre-dates this problem, and I have not got to the bottom of that one yet. I do not think that problem is the cause of this one.

All machines are using DHCP, with NetBios enabled over TCP/IP in the “Network connections-Local Area Connection-properties-TCP/IP-properties-Advanced-WINS-NetBIOS settings.

All three machines have had the “computer browser” and “network connections” services stopped and re-started under “my computer-(right-click for) management-services”

I have run a command line window on all 3 PCs to check ipconfig. All have individual ip addresses, 192.169.1.x, where x is 5 or 6 or 7, depending on which machine I am checking it on. I can ping each PC to it’s own ip address, and to both of the others.

If I open a browser window in Internet Explorer, and enter any PC’s name, preceded by a double backslash, I can see all of the shared folders, and browse them without problems. The command looks like this:-

\\Phenom

or

\\Panrix

or

\\Intel-Antec

This work on any machine, and TO any machine, including itself.

Additionally, All 3 PC’s can see the two NAS drives, and I can read and write to them to pass info from one PC to another. This network is at home, and is not used for anything that causes significant Ethernet traffic. Essentially, I would expect the network to function in an instantaneous fashion, as there is so little going on over the network. I would never expect to see the Windows “hour-glass…wait!” icon appear when I try to access a network resource, as there is NOTHING to hold up access. There is negligible network traffic on my small home network. However…

If I open an explorer window, I used to be able to browse the “My Network Places-Entire Network-MS Windows network-Workgroup-(any.other.PC.name.here)” . Now, if I click on the “My Network Places” line, I get the hour-glass showing up for 10 or more seconds (WHY !?!?!), and then the “workgroup” line shows up, with nothing showing in the right hand pane of the window. If I click on the word “workgroup”, then the problems start. The hour-glass icon shows up for about 30 seconds, during which the PC seems to be unresponsive (locked) in that explorer window, but free in other windows. Then an error message pops up, stating :-

Workgroup is not accessible. You might not have permission to use the network resource. Contact the administrator (me!) to find out if you have access permission. The list of servers for this workgroup is not currently available.

This problem did not exist before. I had not changed any other settings. All PC’s are logged in with the “Administrator” account, so all PC’s have full permissions to everything. I am at home. No-one else but me uses the system, so security in the home is not an issue. All of my Windows firewalls are off, and there is a hardware firewall in my router. My printer is connected to the Panrix PC, as this is the only one that currently has a parallel port, as the two other PC’s are very new, and don’t have printer ports. All three machines can print over the network. I run AVG 8 antivirus, and update it every day. I have disabled it to try and solve this problem, but it has not gone away.

It seems as if the Ethernet part and the TCP/IP stuff is working, as all PC’s can surf the Internet, ping each other and browse shared folders by internet explorer windows and access the NAS drives. It just appears that the system grinds to a halt rapidly if I click on the “My Network Places” line, or “workgroup” thereafter.

I have run the “network identification wizard” and the “Configure home network settings” wizards on all 3 PC’s several times, and set them up identically, without a domain, and with a workgroup called “WORKGROUP”.

Can anyone shed any light on this problem? I don’t know where it came from.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer with this one…

Regards,

Rob
 

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Re: WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

For each of the computers, please post this.


Hold the Windows key and press R, then type CMD to open a command prompt:

In the command prompt window that opens, type type the following commands, one at a time, followed by the Enter key:

Note that there is a space before the -n or the /ALL, but there is NOT a space after the - or / in the following commands.

NBTSTAT -n

IPCONFIG /ALL

Right click in the command window and choose Select All, then hit Enter to copy the contents to the clipboard.
Paste the results in a message here.

If you are on a machine with no network connection, use a floppy, USB disk, or a CD-RW disk to transfer a text file with the information to allow pasting it here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

Hi,

I ran the commands as you requested. Here are the results:-

Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.


THE TEXT BELOW IS FROM THE PHENOM MACHINE

Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

C:\Documents and Settings\Rob>NBTSTAT -n

Local Area Connection 5:
Node IpAddress: [192.168.1.6] Scope Id: []

NetBIOS Local Name Table

Name Type Status
---------------------------------------------
PHENOM <00> UNIQUE Registered
WORKGROUP <00> GROUP Registered
PHENOM <20> UNIQUE Registered
WORKGROUP <1E> GROUP Registered

C:\Documents and Settings\Rob>IPCONFIG /ALL

Windows IP Configuration

Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : Phenom
Primary Dns Suffix . . . . . . . :
Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Unknown
IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection 5:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Realtek RTL8168C(P)/8111C(P) PCI-E G
igabit Ethernet NIC
Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-21-85-95-77-B0
Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.6
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : 16 May 2009 09:20:00
Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : 15 June 2009 09:20:00

C:\Documents and Settings\Rob>


THE TEXT BELOW IS FROM THE INTEL-ANTEC


Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>NBTSTAT -n

Local Area Connection:
Node IpAddress: [192.168.1.5] Scope Id: []

NetBIOS Local Name Table

Name Type Status
---------------------------------------------
INTEL-ANTEC <00> UNIQUE Registered
WORKGROUP <00> GROUP Registered
INTEL-ANTEC <20> UNIQUE Registered
WORKGROUP <1E> GROUP Registered

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>IPCONFIG /ALL

Windows IP Configuration

Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : intel-antec
Primary Dns Suffix . . . . . . . :
Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Unknown
IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Realtek RTL8169/8110 Family Gigabit
Ethernet NIC
Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-1F-E2-5F-D6-91
Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.5
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : 14 May 2009 17:38:10
Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : 13 June 2009 17:38:10

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>



THE TEXT BELOW IS FROM THE PANRIX

Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

C:\Documents and Settings\Rob>NBTSTAT -n

Local Area Connection 4:
Node IpAddress: [192.168.1.7] Scope Id: []

NetBIOS Local Name Table

Name Type Status
---------------------------------------------
PANRIX <00> UNIQUE Registered
PANRIX <20> UNIQUE Registered
WORKGROUP <00> GROUP Registered
WORKGROUP <1E> GROUP Registered

C:\Documents and Settings\Rob>IPCONFIG /ALL

Windows IP Configuration

Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : panrix
Primary Dns Suffix . . . . . . . :
Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Mixed
IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection 4:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
Description . . . . . . . . . . . : NETGEAR FA310TX Fast Ethernet Adapte
r (NGRPCI) #4
Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-A0-CC-D3-A4-60
Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.7
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : 16 May 2009 09:52:51
Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : 15 June 2009 09:52:51

C:\Documents and Settings\Rob>

Does this narrow it down at all?

Cheers,

Rob
 

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Re: WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

That all looks fine. Try this on each of the machines.


Fix for slow network browse due to searching scheduled tasks on remote computers.

First step, Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore. Create a restore point and name it something like "Before Browse Fix". This is to bail you out if something goes wrong during the following process and makes things worse.

Create a file with NOTEPAD containing the following lines and save it as FIX.REG

You should have 3 boxes on the bottom in NOTEPAD.
1)Filename : fix.reg
2)Save as type: all files
3)Encoding: ANSI
If you do not change it from txt type to All files type, then the file will actually be fixcd.reg.txt, this won't accomplish the desired result.

-------------------------- Use text after this line --------------------------------
REGEDIT5
-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\RemoteComputer\NameSpace\{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}
-------------------------- Use text before this line --------------------------------

Double click on FIX.REG and say yes to the Merge Into Registry question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

Hi, John,

I tried the registry thing and the system restore point. This has not changed anything that I can see. I re-booted my PC's.

I can still get access from one PC to another by using an Internet Explorer window and entering the command :-

\\<PC name> <enter>

This opens another window with the shared folders on the PC named in the command. The window opens and lists the folder details almost immediately, so the network access for the browsing seems to work perfectly. I can double-click on any of the shared folders and see the contents immediately, and edit them normally. This seems to work on, to, and from any PC.

However, when the pop-up window appears that contains the shared folders of the PC named in the Internet Explorer window, the folder structure is not the same as if I had accessed the same folders via Windows Explorer.

When it was working normally (before), if you opened a Windows Explorer window, you would get the folder structure listed, and one on the options towards the bottom of the listing was "My Network Places". By double-clicking on "My Network Places", I would normally see “Entire Network”. By double clicking on this, I would see three sub-folders, called “Microsoft Terminal Services”, “Microsoft Windows Network”, and “Web Client Network”. I would then double-click on “Microsoft Windows Network” and see all of the other machines listed in the right-hand pane, and be able to browse them normally.

If I do this via the Internet Explorer window and the double backslash command, the new window lists the shared folders on the machine requested, but ONLY the folder on the machine requested. It shows the folder structure as normal, like :-

My Network Places-Entire Network-Microsoft Windows Network-Workgroup-Panrix

So, the PC seems to acknowledge that there is a “Workgroup” in the folder structure on the network, and it appears in the normal place in the Windows Explorer folder structure, but if I double-click on the word “Workgroup” in the folder-tree structure, I get the hour-glass timeout icon, it waits about 30 seconds and then gives me the same error message as before, stating:-

“Workgroup is not available … etc… list of servers for this workgroup is not available.”

There is another difference, too. This is noticed on the Intel-Antec machine. If I open a Windows Explorer window, I get the usual folders listed in the left hand pane. If I single-click on the plus sign next to the words “My Network Places”, the folder structure opens out to list “Entire Network”, and “Panrix C” (…that is the share name of the C drive on the Panrix PC). I can browse through the sub-folders in the shared folder listed under the “My Network Places” , but if I single-click on the plus sign next to the words “Entire Network”, I only get a single entry in the next level down in the folder-tree structure, namely “Microsoft Windows Network”, and other two options (“Microsoft Terminal Services” and “Web Client Network”) are not visible. Again, if I either single-click on the plus sign nest to the words “Microsoft Windows Network” or double-click on the words themselves, I get an hour-glass time-out of about 13 seconds before the next level down in the tree-structure appears in the left hand pane of the Windows Explorer window. This shows the “Workgroup” as normal. However, if I try to access the contents of the “Workgroup” level by double-clicking on the word “Workgroup”, I get the same 30 second hour-glass wait icon, and the same error message.

Does any of this help to narrow down the problem at all? The network browsing function seems to work quickly via an Internet Explorer window, but not from Windows Explorer. Could there be some sort of issue with Windows Explorer itself?

Still lost…

Regards,

Rob
 

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Re: WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

I went back and reviewed your nbtstat -n results, and there is one issue that I missed. None of the computers are the master browser, which is a problem. Check the event log and see if there are any errors associated with the master browser, because if those are the only computers in your network, that's the reason browsing doesn't work.


Check your Services are Started on all PCs:
  • COM+ Event System (for WZC issues)
  • Computer Browser
  • DHCP Client
  • DNS Client
  • Network Connections
  • Network Location Awareness
  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
  • Server
  • TCP/IP Netbios helper
  • Wireless Zero Configuration (XP wireless configurations)
  • WLAN AutoConfig (Vista wireless configurations)
  • Workstation

Note: You can check the services in Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services.

All of these services should be started, and their startup type should be automatic (or perhaps manual).

If a service is not running, open it's properties and check the dependencies. Check each of the dependencies and see which one is preventing the service from running. Checking the event log is also a good idea here, there may be clues to what is failing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

Hi, John,

I have had a couple of interesting events just today. I tried the previous stuff that you mentioned, on all 3 PC’s. They were re-booted in the usual way, via “Start - Turn Off Computer – Restart”. This was done to all 3 of them several times to make sure any changes were fully started and functional. Still, I had no browsing facilities.

Then, there was an “act of God”. I was working in the garage and managed to trip the breaker on the mains, or there was a momentary power fluctuation in our neighbourhood. Anyway, the whole house powered down, and I had to re-set the breaker. An hour later, when I got to re-starting all 3 PC’s, I suddenly found that all of the “Workgroup” browsing in Windows Explorer was working as normal. Actually, it was BETTER than normal. Maybe that “browsing fix” in the registry has stopped the PC’s from being slowed by the remote PC’s scheduled search tasks.

Anyway, as I have already mentioned, I had previously done software re-boots of all 3 PC’s, but not fixed the problem. I had not changed ANYTHING else, so I have no idea why this problem should just disappear after a power cut This was a total un-scheduled hardware reset!

Your latest posting mentions the services running on the 3 PC’s. I have checked them all on all 3 PC’s, and they are all running apart from the Vista one, as my system is XP only.

You mentioned that if these are the only PC’s on my network (and they are), that one must be a “master”. Where does this setting show up in the NBTSTAT command response, and how can it be changed? If this is what was missing before the power-cut, I would like to know what to look for next time, just in case…

Additionally, I have a standard British Telecom Voyager 205 ADSL router with a built-in firewall, and the two NAS drives and a parallel-port printer. If I had not set up any particular PC or device on my network to be a network “master” (and I had not, as far as I know…), which PC (or router etc…) would be the “master”, and how would this be decided by the system? Would it be the first PC to boot up, or the first PC to notice that the “master” device had crashed, or been switched off, or the router or switch that they are all connected to, or what? How was my home network coping for a “master” server function before all of these problems occurred? I was not aware that anything needed to be a “master” over a small home network.

I will be using the system today and tomorrow. If I can re-boot everything several times without anything failing, this problem MAY be solved, or maybe just dormant....

The only other thing that I noticed as being different was after the “registry fix” thing. My Intel-Antec machine would not boot up as normal. It came up with an error message stating “No system on disk – press ESC to re-boot” I ejected the DVD tray, just in case it was trying to boot from it, and pulled out a USB compact flash card reader with a CF card in it, just in case it was trying to boot from that, too. It then booted normally from pressing the ESC key. I have no idea what that was about.

The symptoms seem to have gone away, but I am still unsure of what the issue is or was. Can you explain any of this?

Cheers,

Rob
 

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Re: WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

If you check the displays, the master browser should have a line like this:

..__MSBROWSE__.<01>

None of yours had this line when we checked.

Note that it can take up to 15-20 minutes for Windows to get it's act together in a workgroup setting and elect the master browser, so after rebooting, you need to be somewhat patient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

Hi, John,

I have been looking in the places that we had previously looked (nbtstat, ipconfig, services) but I cant see this last MSBROWSE line that you mentioned. Where is it supposed to be exactly?

Cheers,

Rob
 

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Re: WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

It appears in the NBTSTAT -n display, here's an example.


Name Type Status
---------------------------------------------
FXJCS <20> UNIQUE Registered
FXJCS <00> UNIQUE Registered
UAF <00> GROUP Registered
UAF <1e> GROUP Registered
UAF <1d> UNIQUE Registered
..__MSBROWSE__.<01> GROUP Registered

MAC Address = 00-50-56-C0-00-01
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

Hi, John,

I have re-booted my PC's a few times over the last few days. I can still browse the "Network Places" OK, so I think this problem has been solved via the changes that you suggested, though I am still no sure at to why it persisted after several re-boots, and then decided to dis-appear after a power cut. Anyway, thanks for your help on this one; it was driving me nuts!

I reckon we can close this thread and call it "SOLVED".

Thanks again,

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
[SOLVED] : - WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

I think this is solved now. Cheers, John...
 

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Re: WORKGROUP not accessible, but other network functions are OK.

Workgroup browsing is frequently problematic. I've been working with mine now that I don't have any computers running all the time. Since having all the systems sleep and only wake up for backups and maintenance, it's been more problematic.

Nature of the beast. :smile:
 
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