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Windows 98 + XP + File Sharing = Not Working

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Networking Windows XP is quite a pain to get working correctly or to say the least, keep it working if you are not Networking with another XP computer. Microsoft made a few changes to XP's file sharing and networking that forces everyone to switch all their machines to XP. However Windows 2000, 2003 does not have this problem and 2003 was released after XP. Anyway here are all the procedures you need to do to fix your XP to 98 or ME networking if the network or file sharing is not working.

Let's say you are trying to Network XP with a Windows ME machine. First thing is to ensure that you network cards (NIC) are installed properly. Open the Device Manger and verify your NIC.

Now verify the type of networking cable you are using. What I mean by this is, if you network through a router, hub or switch you need to use a standard network cable. A standard network cable has all the wires matched to the same pin on the opposite end. If you are networking with just a cable from one computer directly plug into a second computer you will need to use a special network cable with a twisted pair. If you use a RJ45 connection, spotting a twisted pair cable is easy, place both ends of the cable side by side, pin side up. You will notice that the wire color order is different, two wires will be reversed in the order.

At this point we now have the hardware working, so now we need the protocols installed. You could use TCP/IP for file sharing but if you connect to the Internet this is dangerous, you open your entire computer to the world, so you are going to need to use NetBios. Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, and 2000 all use NetBios protocol and XP does not use NetBios. XP uses an advanced version of IPX/SPX that includes a NetBios compatible. This is where the networking problem comes in to play.

On your Windows ME machine, in the Network properties be sure to install TCP/IP and NetBios for your NIC. Install Client for Microsoft Networks, and File and Print Sharing. If you have TCP/IP install in the Network properties be sure you are not binding with file sharing. Check the Network properties for your TCP/IP > NIC and the Binding tab, uncheck File and Print Sharing, leave Client for Microsoft Networks checked. On the NetBios >NIC Binding check both.

On your XP machine open the Network Connections, select your NIC and then in the Network Tasks select "Setup a home or office network" and complete the process with the Wizard. Install the network wizard to the Windows ME machine. The wizard will install a few new files and a new service to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \software \microsoft \windows \currentversion \runservices key, "SSDPSRV" - Ssdpsrv.exe, which is " Simple Service Discovery Protocol Service".

We now have completed installing the network protocols and have updated the NetBios protocol to be able to talk with Windows XP. However, your network is not complete yet, we still need to share files or folders and give permissions for others to use them.

On both machines, open the Windows Explorer, select the folder(s) or drive(s) you want to share, let's assume you want to share drive C. Right click the C drive and select "Sharing", select "Share as" and enter a name like "C" or "Bobbies" or whatever you like.

If your XP machine is using NTFS you will also need to create a user and give the use permissions to use the drive or folders you want to share.

Your network and file sharing are now complete, but if you have a firewall on either or both machine you should disable or close the firewalls so that you can verify that the sharing is working. XP has a built in firewall To disabled the Internet Firewall, open the Network Connections applet in the Control Panel, select your connection, right click select Properties, on the Advanced tab and disable the firewall.

Once you know that your network is working, re-enable the firewalls. If you have a problem with when the firewalls are running you will need to reconfigure the firewalls.


Note: XP wants to use TCP/IP for file sharing to be able to share on WAN. XP then relies on it's firewall to stop intruders.

A reader wrote us telling his 98 did not have NetBIOS. He had to enable IPX/SPX compatible protocol, and then one of the options in the protocol setup was to enable NetBIOS support for IPX/SPX protocol. Then he still could not get the file sharing working until he bound File and Print Sharing to the TCP/IP protocol.

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