Cannot set up home network wired & wireless

  mdshamilton 08:43 23 Sep 2003

I have a USR wireless router and wireless desktop card that I am trying to set up as a home network. One PC connects via ethernet cable to the router and the internet, the other PC has a wireless card and connects to the router and the internet. They both connect to the internet with no problems at all.

I spent 4 hours last night running and re-running the XP home network set-up wizard. The wizard runs fine, the PCs have different names, the workgroup is "Hamilton Family" on both PCs. Yet each PC cannot "see" the other PC on the home network. When I re-run the wizard the workgroup name defaults to something like "MSWorkgroup" which I then change once again to "Hamilton Family". I disabled the PCs' firewalls and there isn't any MAC address or WEP security on the network yet.

Please advise me what I'm doing wrong in setting up the home network so I can share printers, files and play games etc. Online help and MS' website don't give any solutions to this problem at all.

Thank you,


  SV 09:08 23 Sep 2003

I had a similar problem, although I was just networking two PCs with wireless cards and without a router. My laptop and PC resolutely refused to see each other, although the wireless utility told me the network was there. I did a couple of things that sound obvious, but after I did them, everything burst into life:

a. Make sure that you have File and Print sharing enabled on both machines (Control Panel, Network Connections).

b. Actually share a folder. Unless you do this, Windows won't see anything.

c. At this point, I still wasn't seeing anything so I went to Search/Computers or People/A Computer on the network. In the search field, I typed *.* and pressed Search. As if by magic, the computers showed up.

You may find that your wireless connection is a bit "blocky" - that means that the computers will take a few seconds to find each other, and that even after the connection has been made, it will seem to drop out every now and again. But once you have the shared folders in your "network places", you should be okay.

To put folders in network places (or to map as a network drive), you need to use the convention \\computer name\share name.

I hope that helps


Steve V

  SV 10:58 23 Sep 2003

Oh, and another thing. If you have ZoneAlarm installed as your firewall, you will have to close it down as it hides your computer from others on your home network. There are other firewalls that will allow to use a home network (including ZoneAlarm Pro).


Steve V

  mdshamilton 12:43 23 Sep 2003

Thank you for your suggestions, I'll give it a try tonight. Also for the comment on Zone Alarm which I do use. Once I get the network up and running then I plan to add security by restricting access to the MAC addresses only (God know where I find a MAC address for my wireless PDA) and I'll upgrade to Zone Alarm Pro.

I'll post an update and let you know how I get on.


  deadneat 13:00 23 Sep 2003

I spent hours trying to set up a home network. Three comps were all XP. Sorted it by downloading new drivers for 1 network card.
Good luck :-)

  fishmad pete 14:46 23 Sep 2003

The free version of zone alarm still allows you to run a home network. What it does prevent is internet sharing.

  BBez 14:51 23 Sep 2003
  mdshamilton 09:01 24 Sep 2003

Like some things when it comes to PCs and communications I'm not entirely sure what I did to solve the problem and get my home network running - here's a run down of what I did:

I switched off ZoneAlarm

I ensured that both PC's shared documents folders had their properties set to share across network.

On the main PC wired to the router I re-set up a home network and changed the workgroup name to be one long word with no spaces. (no idea if this was an issue, but the workgroups at my office are single words)

On the wireless networked PC I re-set up a home network and changed the workgroup name to the same long word with no spaces. (I noticed in some of the MS-home networking documentation that it's important to set up the wired or main PC up for networking before others)

Virtually immediately the network was up and running. Next steps will be to purchase and install ZoneAlarm Pro which Smiffy99 said allowed home networking (I use ZoneAlarm as an essential part of my PCs - I feel I should pay for it as it is vital and ) Then I'll restrict the network to registered MAC addresses as I understand WEP slows the wireless speed down (incidentally I noticed on the wireless PC that there is another wireless network within range - named BTVoyager, and I live in a residential area of West London).

Thanks all for your help.

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