Does PC#2 have a security suite installed, like something from Norton or McAfee, for example? Sometimes programs like that automatically enable a firewall-like behavior that blocks incoming connections while allowing outgoing connections.
See if you ping PC#1 from PC#2, and PC#2 from PC#1. If you can't, then you may have something wrong with the IP address assignments, a personal firewall getting in the way, misconfigured Windoze firewall (see exceptions -> Print and File Sharing), or something else broken between the two machines. Hard to tell becaue you didn't bother supplying any numbers.
If you can ping each other, then setup Windoze file sharing in accordance to numerous tutorials online:
XP Home is notoriously poor at all sorts of stuff. My XPHome laptop kept doing much the same as you describe above. I ended up converting it to Pro.
Things to check: identical users exist on all three machines with identical passwords firewalls are all set to allow filesharing all machines in the same Workgroup all machines can ping each other with IP address and hostname
IIRC, this is not applicable to XP Home because Home only uses Simple File Sharing. Identical user accounts don't apply to Simple File Sharing.
Agreed, and IME the Windows firewall is rarely the problem. It's those blasted Internet security suites that I run into most often.
This isn't applicable, either, is it? I bring random machines into the shop on a regular basis and am always able to access workgroups other than mine. It takes an extra couple of mouse clicks, but no big deal.
IP address, yes, but hostname has never been something I worry about.
I just looked that up. That's a requirement for Pro, but not for Simple File Sharing. Incidentally, Pro supports both Simple File Sharing and ACL (access control lists).
Yep. In particular, Norton Internet Security drives me nuts. I have yet to figure out how to undo the damage, disable the stupid firewall, or deal with multiple security zones where the machine acts differently in different locations. I suppose there's a benefit to doing all that for perhaps 10% of the users. However, it drives the other 90% nuts.
It's important. Viewing the machines on the networks is a bit awkward if they're in different Workgroups. You have to specify the Workgroup every time you issue a network command or use a share. For example: net view will show all the machines in your Workgroup, but not the other Workgroups. To see those, you have to use: net view /network:workgroup_name Since net view is the back end to the "My Network Places" mess, you won't see the other machines.
I like to use this test to see if things are working. It takes all the GUI complexity out of the picture. Start -> run -> cmd \\\\machine_name or \\\\192.168.xx.xx to show the available shares. It's a good fast test to see if networking is setup correctly. If it hangs for about 10 seconds, it's not working.
Incidentaly, if you need some entertainment value at the local coffee shop, try running the above commands pointing to the ip addresses of the various laptops in the coffee shop. An amazing number have the firewall turned off and shares wide open (with no password). So do I but the exposed directories are full of software bombs. I wrote one that fills the screen with crud.
Hit the space bar to exit. I also have one that makes all kinds of awful noises on the speaker, which has been handy for identifying the hackers. Isn't Windoze networking fun?
Please allow me to rephrase your answer for (hopefully) some added clarity. "That's a requirement for Pro" isn't quite correct.
- Simple File Sharing doesn't require matching user accounts.
- Simple File Sharing is available in both Home and Pro.
- Simple File Sharing is the only method available in Home.**
- Simple File Sharing is the default in Pro, but is easily disabled in favor of the ACL method.
**You can sort of fake the ACL method in Home after logging on as Administrator.
I typically use the My Network Places stuff, and so far I haven't run into issues related to different workgroups. I expand My Network Places, see the various workgroups, click to expand the one I want, and click to access it without further ado.
Yep, I do that too.
I've done that, but not at a coffee shop. Amazing what you can find.
Half true. Norton will uninstall from Add-and-Remove, but does a miserable job of cleaning up after itself. It really depends on the version and whether someone registry optimizer hasn't trashed some of the thousands of registry entries. It also sometimes "forgets" to uninstall Live Update which is a seperate nightmare, where it periodically and endlessly downloads some stupid update, and then silently announces that Norton is not installed. Even if you think Norton is fully purged, it's best to use the official removal tool to be sure. I just uninstalled Norton Internet Security 2006(?) from a customers laptop and had to use the removal tool to finish the job.
Yep. However, it's the worst offender. If desperate, try the Microsoft Installer Cleaup:
Just do a registry backup before you attack lest you make a mess.
Wiping Norton or MacAfee is the first thing I do with a new machine.
Microsoft is selling a Swiss Army Knife type of operating system. Lots of blades to choose from, some of which are rather dull.
Microsoft has done many studies trying to identify what users actually do with their machines. It's not what programs they install, but how the computer is actually used. Microsoft is trying very hard to all things for everyone. I seriously expect MS to give up and balkanize the product into various specialty versions, such as a game machine, downloaders dumpster, home office, web and email, road warrior, cash register, etc. With XP, there are basically 3 editions, Vista there are 4, and Windoze 7 will be 6.
The trend is obvious and ominous in that one size does not fit all.
The problem appears with wireless client managers. You can always tell when Microsoft does something wrong. There immediately appears a mess of utilities and replacements that do the job right. With a few buggy exceptions (i.e. Linksys and DLink) most client managers work infinitely better than WZC (wireless zero config). It's not unusual to find multiple wireless client managers on a single machine. The Thinkpad T42 I'm currently untangling had IBM Access Mgr, iPass, and Intel Proset installed.
As you note, a home wireless user needs only a single wireless connection and setup. However, a road warrior laptop needs something that can handle potentially hundreds of connections. "View available networks" is fine for a few access points, but a useless disaster if the laptop is within range of hundreds of clients. Making a wireless client manager that is suitable for both applications, and others, is going to be difficult.
Oh yeah, extra credit to the brilliant human factors expert at Microsoft that demanded that users should correctly type in the WPA key blindly, and then do it *TWICE*.
I wiped it because I had had problems with Norton previously, and already had a 3-machine license for another security package. It basically destroyed the machine. Luckily it was a new one and I hadn't got anything useful on it yet.
But it took a long time to fix because I'm not a Windows nerd.
I won't touch McAfee with a barge pole any more. Once upon a time I liked it because it had one of the few anti-spam programs that worked with Agent.
But I got two nasties with automatic updates, which should never happen with a product like this. The first hooked into the TCPIP stack and when it was removed it left a blind branch so I couldn't get out to the net at all. It took a long time to find. I reinstalled XP and all the software packages, only for it to happen again. So I went through all that doing a full scan between each package as well before I found it was a McAfee update doing it.
Luckily I had a fairly recent backup of my data.
The other thing I don't like about the security packages, is that their components don't all come from the same source. So they switch suppliers occasionally.
I liked free Zonealarm firewall so I am currently using their internet security package.
But they now use bits from Kaspersky - which I threw out because it gave me too many false positives that had to be checked.
You can certainly set up identical user accounts on XP Home machines, but it won't help with networking.
I think CIFS (SMB) browsing switched from NetBIOS/NetBEUI to straight TCP starting with Windows 2000. Since the OP is using two flavors of XP, I assume CIFS browsing is done over TCP only, in this case.
Agreed, but I can't remember the last time I've done that. I use the popular \\\\IP\\share format.