BOOT CAMP ARCHIVE 2008

  

 

BOOT CAMP 536 (05/08/08)

Networking XP and Vista, part 2

 

If your home or small office network has a mixture of XP and Vista PCs and you followed the steps in last week’s episode of Boot Camp, then the shared files and folders on your Vista computer should now be accessible from your XP PC. However, as you have probably discovered, it doesn’t work the other way around and your XP machine remains stubbornly invisible to Vista.

 

That’s because in its infinite wisdom Microsoft has changed a number of networking features and the way Vista PCs recognise other computers on a network. Fortunately there is a workaround – more about that in a moment -- but first a quick tour of one of Vista’s more useful networking features that you will be getting to know if things don’t work out…

 

It’s called Network Mapping, and as the name suggests, it creates a map of your network, showing all of the PCs and devices connected to it. To open the map go to Network on the Start menu and click Network and Sharing on the Toolbar (or Start > Control Panel > Network and Sharing, or just type Network in Search on the Start menu), and you will see a simple diagram showing how your computer connects to the router and the Internet. This window also has some important settings that you may need to change; you can do this now or later, but you might as well get it out of the way whilst you are here.

 

Immediately below your computer’s icon there’s the name of the connection and in brackets, either Public or Private network. It should be set to Private; if it’s not click Customize and change it. Next, under Sharing and Discover the following settings should all be set to ‘On’: Network Discovery, File Sharing, Public Folder Sharing (select ‘Read Only, Password Required), Printer Sharing, Password protected Sharing and Media Sharing (the latter is only really necessary if you are using Media Centre versions of XP and Vista).  If any of them need changing click the down-arrow to open that option’s controls, afterwards reboot the PC.

 

Open the Network and Sharing Centre again and this time click the View Full Map link in the top right hand corner and after a few moments you will find out if your XP computers are visible. At this stage it is unlikely that they will be and that’s because they do not have the necessary ‘responder’ that Vista needs to recognise other computers. This is easy to fix and you can download the necessary Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) Responder from Microsoft at http://tinyurl.com/ynrkqf (or just type KB922120 into Google).

 

Follow the instructions to download the file. It’s not very large (around 500kb) so it shouldn’t take too long. By the way, this requires Windows Validation and Firefox users note that like many MS downloads, it’s much less hassle to use Internet Explorer. Once the file has finished downloading click Run, agree to everything and if asked, reboot the PC.

 

That’s pretty much all there is to it, you should now be able to go back to the Network Map on your Vista machine, click the Refresh button and with a bit of luck your XP computer’s icon will appear, showing its connection to the router (or Switch). If your luck is holding you can access the shared folders it contains by double clicking the icon, though if password protection is enabled you will be asked to enter the Username and Password needed to access that machine’s User accounts.

 

If the XP machine icon appears on the map but you get a message that says something like ‘Windows cannot access \\XX’ (where XX is the name of your XP computer), then you still have a little work to do.

 

Begin by rebooting the entire network. Switch everything off, and that includes all PCs and the router, modem and anything else connected to it. Restart the router and if it’s a combi modem/router, wait until the broadband connection has stabilised and all the lights that should be steady have stopped winking, or changed to the ‘ready’ colour. Now boot up the PCs one at a time and try again.

 

Re-check the settings mentioned earlier in Windows Network and Sharing Centre, especially the one about Public and Private Networks. Also, make sure that you actually have some files marked for sharing on your XP computer (see last week’s Top Tip).

 

It is possible that one or both firewalls on the two machines are blocking access; Window’s own firewalls are usually okay and automatically configured for network operation but if you are using a third-party firewall then temporarily disable it and try again. If the Firewall is responsible there’s some useful advice about which Ports need to be open in a Microsoft KB article, which you will find at: http://tinyurl.com/359u6s.

 

The router is another possibility and some models, more than a couple of years old, are unable to communicate with Vista, though it may be possible to update the Firmware. A trip to the support section of the manufacturer’s website will normally tell you if there are any issues with Vista.

 

 

Next Week – Freeware Top Tens

 

JARGON FILTER

 

 

NETWORK DISCOVERY

Configuration setting that determines whether or not a computer can see, and be seen on a network

 

PORT

A virtual pathway or data connection used by PCs and programs to exchange data

 

PUBLIC/PRIVATE NETWORK

Public networks allow very limited access, generally the safest option; PCs on a Private network can see and be seen by other computers, allowing files and resources to be shared

 

TOP TIP

Here’s another quick troubleshooting tip if you still can’t make a connection. Establish that both computers can see each other by opening a Command window (type ‘cmd’ in Run or Search on the Start menu) and at the flashing prompt type ‘ping’ followed by the IP address of the computer you are trying to reach. To determine the IP address of a computer open a command window and type ‘ipconfig’. If you can ‘ping’ the other computer then the problem is usually connected to the Firewall; if you can’t then there may be a problem with the network connections.

 

 

Don't forget, there's a full archive of previous Boot Camp Top Tips at www.pctoptips.co.uk

 

---end---

© R. Maybury 2008, 0908

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