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Author Topic: IDEA: Diagnose problems in windows file sharing on LAN  (Read 2093 times)
JimH44
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« on: August 14, 2012, 11:26:14 AM »

I have searched widely for a tool to diagnose why windows file sharing sometimes stops working.
I know how to use PING to check basic connectivity to a local host.
I know how to use NET USE to see mapped drives and NET VIEW to see hosts visible on the LAN.
Then I use Search->Computer to see what shares I can see.
Then I try to open a share like SharedDocs on the other computer.
I have found "howto" documents on the web about how to set up windows file sharing, which take quite a while to work through, sometimes without solving the problem.
I have tried the troubleshooter in the Windows help, but it said we had duplicate computer names on our LAN, but we don't.
I think many people would find this helpful:
- a tool to run through the steps I have listed above, and any other useful ones, reporting results. Then when anything fails, look at the packets on the network to diagnose why it failed.
- on the local computer, for each share, analyse the interaction of "share permissions" and "NTFS permissions" and list what each category of user (including "guest") can do on that share.
- offer suggestions on how to resolve the issues.

Hope this takes someone's interest,
   Jim
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Ath
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2012, 11:41:44 AM »

Welcome to the site, Jim

I have searched widely for a tool to diagnose why windows file sharing sometimes stops working.
What are you talking about? Ever since I'm using Windows 7 I've never seen this kind of issues. And even with Windows XP it was very rare, and only when XP had been running for weeks on end without a reboot.

  • What OS are you on?
  • Have you updated all your drivers for hardware? Windows Update does not have lots of network drivers up to date, device manufacturers usually do
  • Is your Windows fully up to date with the latest service packs and updates?
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2012, 12:11:43 PM »

I'm using Windows 7 I've never seen this kind of issues. And even with Windows XP it was very rare

I have. Usually it's caused by 3rd party firewalls or some other over zealous security suite. Name resolution is a classic failure point when Fwalls are involved...and also for workgroups when user X decides to change their password the fun ensues.

The duplicate name thing happens a lot when user X decides to connect their laptop to a hard line (for a faster transfer etc.) while it's still connected to the WiFi ... Moments later the machine is in conflict with itself. <-Okay I did that one to myself last week but I was in a hurry and having a bad day)
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Shades
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2012, 01:47:48 PM »

I encounter the same misery when connecting with XP to Win7 or Win2008. For no reason whatsoever the connection breaks. No firewall on any of the PC's, Avast antivirus is the only security suite that could affect the connection, but I find that hard to believe as it never happens when connecting to another XP / Win2003 / Win2000 PC. Also, the LAN networking is managed by UnTangle (linux based).

However, when I connect with Win7/Win2008 to XP/Win2003/Win2000/Win7/Win2008 I don't experience any inexplicable loss of connection at all.

Because of that I can't help but think that it will take some time for the Win7/Win2008 networking software MS wrote themselves to get the same robustness as the networking software they licensed from BSD in any of their pre-Vista Operating Systems. Actually, I am more blunt and say that I don't think that any of their Vista+ OS's is fit for (serious) networking. At all! In other areas I am inclined to believe that Win7 is an improvement, but networking sure as hell isn't.
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40hz
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2012, 02:21:57 PM »

I'm using Windows 7 I've never seen this kind of issues. And even with Windows XP it was very rare

I have. Usually it's caused by 3rd party firewalls or some other over zealous security suite. Name resolution is a classic failure point when Fwalls are involved...and also for workgroups when user X decides to change their password the fun ensues.

The duplicate name thing happens a lot when user X decides to connect their laptop to a hard line (for a faster transfer etc.) while it's still connected to the WiFi ... Moments later the machine is in conflict with itself. <-Okay I did that one to myself last week but I was in a hurry and having a bad day)

Me too. Most of the problems I've seen relate to issues between the new Windows security model and XP. More often than not it requires some judicious tinkering with group policy to get everything working together without to many surprises. The problem with that, however, is that it usually means dumbing down Win7/2k8 to get XP to work - which is like throwing out your watchdog because he barks too much. Hardly a good way to handle things.

I'm firmly against XP in a Win7/2k8 environment for exactly that reason.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2012, 03:12:35 PM »

Most of the problems I've seen relate to issues between the new Windows security model and XP.

That one I haven't seen (out side of folks using blank passwords), and most of our clients (still) have mixed environments with an 08/08R2 server and XP/Vista/7 clients. No issues found bouncing between them in any direction.
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40hz
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A'Tuin

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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2012, 04:16:11 PM »

Most of the problems I've seen relate to issues between the new Windows security model and XP.

That one I haven't seen (out side of folks using blank passwords), and most of our clients (still) have mixed environments with an 08/08R2 server and XP/Vista/7 clients. No issues found bouncing between them in any direction.

Don't see it with Vista or 7. I do see it on occasion with an XP client if it wasn't set up properly, or was wedded to the domain after the fact. (Usually a laptop when that happens). Then again, it's only two clients that had those problems (both of whom are in love with Lenovo for their endusers) so it may have something to do with the XP OEM setups for those.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2012, 06:30:52 AM »

Ah! Okay. Don't see a lot of Lenovo - Only once really in a WG - I'll have to watch for that.
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JimH44
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2012, 04:20:19 PM »

Sorry, Ath, I didn't answer your question straight away -- all 3 machines are running XP Pro, SP 3.
I have not updated drivers, because ping works properly, and they can all access the internet OK.
Windows update is running on the two machines that have the problems with each other.
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