Article ID: 308007 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q308007
Expand all | Collapse all

On This Page

INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to troubleshoot a Windows XP-based home network. Additionally, this article describes how to determine a network structure (topology), how to use the Home and Small Office Networking Troubleshooter, and how to troubleshoot basic connectivity, and how to resolve file and printer sharing issues. This article is intended for intermediate to advanced users. You may find it easier to follow the steps if you print this article first.

Resolution

If you have problems with your home network, follow the steps in this article to help isolate and troubleshoot the configuration of your home network’s basic connectivity, and file and printer sharing. First, try to isolate and resolve the issue by using the steps in the "How to troubleshoot a home network issue" section.

How to troubleshoot a home network issue

Note You may have to know the kind of network structure that you are using to complete these steps. If you are not sure, go to the "Home-network structures and their configurations" section.

To troubleshoot a home network issue, use the Windows XP Home and Small Office Networking Troubleshooter in Help and Support Center to try to isolate and resolve the issue. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then click Help and Support.
  2. Under Pick a Help Topic, click Networking and the Web.
  3. Under Networking and the Web, click Fixing networking or Web problems, and then click Home and Small Office Networking Troubleshooter.
  4. Answer the questions in the troubleshooter to try to find a solution.
If the troubleshooter resolves the issue, you are finished.

If the troubleshooter does not resolve the issue, determine your home-network structure in the "Home-network structures and their configurations" section, and then follow the steps in the "Advanced Troubleshooting" section.

Home-network structures and their configurations

Before you troubleshoot home networking issues, first determine the network structure you are using. The network structure is the arrangement or mapping of network elements such as links and nodes, and the physical connections between them. There are several common home-network structures:

Computers that are connected to a NAT device

The computers are connected to a NAT device that provides a single, shared Internet connection. A hardware network address translation (NAT) device is a broadband or satellite modem that enables the computers to obtain and share a single connection to the Internet. In this configuration, the computers generally receive an IP address from the NAT device. Typically, the NAT device uses the address 192.168.0.1 and assigns addresses to other computers in the range 192.168.0.x, where x is a number between 2 and 254.

Computers that are connected to a network hub

A network hub receives data through one port, and then makes it available to all ports. This enables data sharing or Internet connection between all computers that are connected to the hub. Computers that are connected to a network hub can have many configurations:
  • The computers have no Internet connection.

    In this configuration, the computers are generally assigned IP addresses in the range of 169.254.x.y, where x and y are numbers between 1 and 254.
  • The computers are connected to a hub, where only one computer has Internet connection shared by using Internet Connection Sharing.

    This connection can be a dial-up connection or a broadband connection (typically xDSL or a cable modem). In this configuration, the computer that shares the connection generally assigns IP addresses to other computers on the home network. The computer that is sharing the connection will have IP address 192.168.0.1 configured for the adapter that is connected to the home network. Other computers on the network will have addresses in the range 192.168.0.x, where x is a number between 2 and 254.
  • The computers are connected to the Internet through a broadband connection.

    This configuration is also known as an edgeless network.
    In this configuration, the computers on the home network each have an IP address that is provided by the Internet service provider (ISP). The addresses that are used vary, depending on the ISP.
  • The computers each have a separate dial-up connection or broadband connection to the Internet.

    In this configuration, the computers generally use automatically assigned IP addresses for their home network adapters. Typically, the network adapters assign IP addresses in the range of 169.254.x.y, where x and y are numbers between 1 and 254. The computers use ISP-provided addresses for their Internet connections.

ADVANCED TROUBLESHOOTING

This section explains how to troubleshoot the configuration of your home network’s basic connectivity, and how to troubleshoot file sharing and printer sharing. First, follow the steps to troubleshoot basic connectivity issues.

Troubleshoot basic connectivity issues

To troubleshoot basic connectivity issues and verify name resolution between computers, follow these steps in the order in which they are provided until you isolate and resolve the issue. First try step 1.

Step 1: Verify the physical connection between computers

The back of each network adapter in a desktop computer has visible lights. These lights indicate a good connection. If you are using a network hub, or a switch to connect the computers, make sure that the network hub or the switch is turned on and that the lights are illuminated for each client connection. This indicates a good link.

Step 2: Make sure that all computers have TCP/IP installed

This step is especially important with Microsoft Windows 95-based computers. By default, Windows 95-based computers do not have TCP/IP installed. If you are using computers that run Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition on the network, you can look for TCP/IP by using the Network item in Control Panel. If TCP/IP is not installed, you must install it to communicate with Windows XP-based computers on the network. TCP/IP is always installed in Windows XP.

Step 3: Make sure that the network configuration includes the IP addresses

Collect network configuration information from at least two computers on the network by using the adapter status. Then, make sure that the assigned IP addresses match the home-network configurations described in the "Home-network structures and their configurations" section. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type ncpa.cpl, and then click OK.
  2. Locate and right-click the icon that represents this computer's connection to the home network, and then click Status.
  3. Click the Support tab, and then under Connection status, locate the IP addresses.

    If the assigned IP addresses do not match the topology that this article described in the "Home-network structures and their configurations" section, the computer that is assigning the addresses may not be available. This is likely to be true if 169.254.x.y addresses are in a configuration where you expect a different address range.

    To change the configuration so that the addresses on the home network adapter for each computer are in the same range, determine which address is correct based on the network topology. To do this, check whether one computer receives an address in the range 192.168.0.x, and another receives an address in the range 169.254.x.y. When you isolate which computer has the incorrect address, troubleshoot the computer that has the incorrect address.

    Note For Windows 95-based computers in a network that uses 169.254.x.y addressing, you must configure IP addresses manually. For information about how to do this, see the online Help for Windows 95.

Step 4: Make sure that firewall features are not enabled on the home network adapters

Verify that the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) or Windows Firewall (WF) feature is not enabled on the adapters that you use to connect the computers to the home network. If these features are enabled on these adapters, you cannot connect to shared resources on other computers in the network.

Note Edgeless networks are the exception. You can use ICF with edgeless networks if you take additional measures to enable connectivity in the home network.

Step 5: Test connectivity between computers by using the "ping" command

To use the ping command to test connectivity between two computers on the network, follow these steps:
  1. On one of the computers, click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK.
  2. At the command prompt, type ping x.x.x.x (where x.x.x.x is the IP address of the other computer), and then press ENTER.

    If the ping command is successful, and the computers can connect correctly, you receive several replies from the other computer. For example, you may receive a reply with the following format:
    Reply from x.x.x.x: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=128
    If you receive these replies, skip step c and go to step d.

    If you do not receive these replies, or if you receive a "Request timed out" message, there may be an issue on the local computer. Go to step c.
  3. Test the local computer. To do this, type ping x.x.x.x (where x.x.x.x is the IP address of the local computer), and then press ENTER.

    If you receive replies, the network adapter is installed correctly, and the TCP/IP protocol stack is likely to be working correctly.

    If you do not receive replies, the network adapter may be installed incorrectly, or the TCP/IP protocol stack may be damaged. Troubleshoot the network adapter and the TCP/IP protocol stack.
    • You can check whether the network adapter is installed correctly, or otherwise further troubleshoot third-party devices, in Device Manager. For additional information about how to troubleshoot devices in Device Manager, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
      283658 How to manage devices in Windows XP
    • You can check whether the TCP/IP protocol stack is damaged, or reset the TCP/IP protocol stack. For additional information about how to reset the TCP/IP protocol stack, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
      299357 How to reset Internet protocol (TCP/IP) in Windows XP
      When you can ping the local computer, go to step d.

      If you cannot ping the computer, go to the "Next Steps" section for information about how to contact Support.
  4. When you can successfully ping the local computer, ping the other computer by using its IP address. To ping a computer by name, type ping computername (where computername is the name of the remote computer), and then press ENTER. To determine a computer's name, right-click My Computer on the desktop, click Properties, and then click the Computer Name tab.

    If you receive replies, you have connectivity and name resolution between the computers.

    If you do not receive replies, go to the "Next Steps" section for information about how to contact Support.
After you have verified connectivity and name resolution between computers, you can troubleshoot the connectivity for file and printer sharing. To do this, go to the "Troubleshoot file sharing and printer sharing" section.

More information

Troubleshoot file sharing and printer sharing

After the computers are connected, you can share files and printers between computers through the home network. To troubleshoot file sharing and printer sharing, follow these steps in the order in which they are provided until you isolate and resolve the issue. First try step 1.

Step 1: Run the Network Setup Wizard to configure each computer in the network

To configure file and printer sharing, run the Network Setup Wizard on each computer in the network. For additional information about the Network Setup Wizard, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
308522 Description of the Network Setup Wizard in Windows
When you are finished configuring file sharing and printer sharing on each computer in the network, go to step 2.

If you were unable to configure file sharing and printer sharing, go to the "Next Steps" section for information about how to contact Support.

Step 2: Make sure that file sharing is configured correctly on each computer.

For additional information about troubleshooting file sharing and making sure that the configuration on the computer is correct, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
304040 How to configure file sharing in Windows XP
In article 304040, go to the "Troubleshooting file sharing in Windows XP" section.

When you are finished configuring file sharing on each computer, go to step 3. If you were unable to configure file sharing, go to the "Next Steps" section for information about how to contact Support.

Step 3: Make sure that the Guest account is set up for network access

All network access to either a Windows XP Home Edition-based computer in a workgroup or to a Windows XP Professional-based computer in a workgroup uses the Guest account. Before you continue to troubleshoot, make sure that the Guest account is set up for network access. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK.
  2. Type the net user guest, and then press ENTER.
  3. If the account is active, a line appears in the output of the command that has the following format:
    Account active               Yes
  4. If the account is not active, type net user guest /active:yes, and then press ENTER to give the Guest account network access. The following text returns after the command:
    The command completed successfully.
    If you receive any other response, make sure that you are logged on as an administrator, and then confirm that you typed the command correctly before you try again.
When you are finished setting up the Guest account for network access, go to step 4. If you were unable to set up the Guest account, go to the "Next Steps" section for information about how to contact Support.

Step 4: Make sure that folder for the computer name is shared

After you have verified the file-sharing configuration and set up the Guest account for network access, make sure that the folder for each computer is shared. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. To locate the computer name for each computer, click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl, and then click OK.
  2. On the Computer Name tab, under Full computer name, locate the computer name.
  3. To determine whether a folder is shared, click Start, click Run, type fsmgmt.msc, and then click OK.
  4. In the left navigation pane, click Shares. A list of shared folders is displayed in the right navigation pane.
  5. Locate the share folder for each computer.

  6. If all computer names are listed, go to step 5.

    If all computer names are not listed, go to the "Next Steps" section for information about how to contact Support.
When you are finished sharing the folders for each computer name, go to step 5.

If you were unable to share the folders, go to the "Next Steps" section for information about how to contact Support.

Step 5: Test the connection between computers

To test the connection from one computer to another, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type \\computername (where computername is the name of another computer on the network), and then press ENTER. A window opens that contains an icon for each shared folder on the other computer.
  2. Try to open one of the shared folders to confirm that the connection is working.

    If you can open a shared folder, the computers are connected. Go to step 6.

    If you cannot open a shared folder, go to step c.
  3. Test the connection from the opposite direction. To do this, go to the other computer on the network and repeat steps 1 and 2 to try to open a shared folder between the computers, or between other computers to make sure that the problem is not with a particular computer on the network.

    If you can open a shared folder from each computer, the computers are connected. Go to step 6.

    If you can open a shared folder from one computer but not the other, the problem may be that the other computer cannot access the folder. Go to step d to troubleshoot the connection for the other computer.

    If you cannot open a shared folder from either computer, there may be a problem with the connection. Go to the "Troubleshoot basic connectivity" section and see step 5.
  4. If you still cannot open a shared folder, try again to test the connection with the computername as the name of the local computer. This tests the connection locally. A window is displayed with an icon for each shared folder on the computer. Try to open one of the shared folders to make sure that you have access.

    If you can open a shared folder, the computers are connected. Go to step 6.

    If you still cannot open a shared folder, or if the window that contains the shared folders on the computer is not displayed, or if you receive an error message, search the Microsoft Knowledge Base for more information about the specific error message that you received. To search the Microsoft Knowledge Base, visit the following Microsoft Web site, and then click Support:
    http://www.microsoft.com
When you are finished testing the connection between computers, go to step 6.

If you were unable to establish a connection between computers, go to the "Next Steps" section for information about how to contact Support.

Step 6: Check the Network Setup Wizard log file for errors

If you do not receive error messages, or you do not find related information in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, check the Network Setup Wizard log file for errors in any events that are not followed by successful operations. To open the log and check for errors, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type %SystemRoot%\nsw.log, and then press ENTER.
  2. If you find errors in the log, search the Microsoft Knowledge Base for more information about how to manually configure the computer to have the correct settings.

    If you do not find errors in the Network Setup Wizard log, and the Nsw.log file does not give you any information about the problem, check the System log for errors, and investigate those errors.

    You can use Event Viewer to check for System log errors. For additional information about how to use Event Viewer to look for system log entries, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    308427 How to view and manage event logs in Event Viewer in Windows XP
When you are finished checking the Network Setup Wizard log file for errors, you should now have connectivity for file and printer sharing. If you still have problems with your home network, go to the "Next Steps" section for information about how to contact Support.

NEXT STEPS

If the troubleshooting steps in this article did not help you, you can also use the Microsoft Customer Support Services Web site to find other solutions. Some services that the Microsoft Customer Support Services Web site provides include the following:
  • Searchable Knowledge Base: Search technical support information and self-help tools for Microsoft products.
  • Solution Centers: View product-specific frequently asked questions and support highlights.
  • Other Support Options: Use the Web to ask a question, contact Microsoft Customer Support Services, or provide feedback.
If you continue to have questions after you use these Microsoft Web sites or if you cannot find a solution on the Microsoft Support Services Web site, click the following link to contact Support:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus

Properties

Article ID: 308007 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 6.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
kbpubtypekc kbhowto kbfirewall kbenv kbnetwork kbtshoot KB308007

Give Feedback

 

Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com