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Can you help me a resolve workgroup setup problem?

I have a workgroup setup, and I'm experiencing problems with workstation A browsing all other workstations except for the server. I can't even ping between the two. Like I said before workstation a shows all other workstation in Network Neighborhood except for the server. How can I fix this?
The problems you are experiencing with Workstation A could be a number of reasons and it is very difficult to identify the problem. The best way to tackle such problems is by an elimination process. There are a few pieces of information, which would greatly help the elimination process, but since you haven't provided them, we will need to start with the very basics.

  1. Are both hosts, Workstation A and the Server, within the same network/subnet? If not, your problem could relate to the routing device used to allow communications between the two networks.

    In the more likely case they are on the same network/subnet, then you need to check both sides for connectivity problems. In some cases your TCP/IP stack might be corrupt, causing specific problems on one of the two sides. You must identify on which side the problem resides. Simple 'pings' to multiple hosts should allow you to figure the side that's having the problem.

  2. Once you have figured which host has the problem, you need to fix it by trying to bind the correct IP protocol address to the network interface card. If this proves impossible, then remove the TCP/IP protocol from the machine and reinstall it. This will cause all files required by the TCP/IP stack to be reinstalled. In some rare cases, someone might have installed a special 'firewall' product which could be responsible for the problems you are experiencing.

  3. By now you should be able to freely ping all available hosts from the server and workstation A. Next step is to figure out why workstation A cannot 'see' the server when browsing the network. Unfortunately you haven't told us if the server is able to browse the network and see the available workstations, which would greatly help in nailing this problem.

    There are a number of possibilities which are causing workstation A not to 'see' the server. For starters, check to make sure they are in the same workgroup. In the case you're using a domain, check to see that both machines are registered in the domain – this can be done at the domain controller.

    Next step would be to make sure netbios of TCP/IP is enabled on both side. This is very important because Windows machines use Netbios in order to communicate between each other. The netbios protocol must be bound to a network protocol such as TCP/IP, Netbeui or IPX/SPX. These network protocols will 'carry' the netbios information from one windows host to another, allowing the transparent communications between the two.

    My experience shows that in most similar communication problems, the netbios was either not bound correctly to the workstation or the network protocol (TCP/IP, Netbeui, IPX/SPX) was incorrectly configured, so take your time to find out what is happening.

    Correcting any problems found in this step will surely allow both sides to see each other.

One last note which I must make is how Windows networks work. This is essential to understand if you need to troubleshoot Windows networks in the future. I suggest you visit www.wown.com, which contains some good information on the above.

This was last published in August 2003

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