Windows XP won't Share!

From my Vista laptop, I cannot connect to or ping my XP desktop or my wife's XP laptop; also, I cannot connect the XP machines to each other.  I CAN connect TO my Vista laptop from BOTH my XP desktop and laptop.  I'm using a Linksys WRT54G Wireless Access point and router.  I am using the Workgroup and everything is shared and setup to work together.  Please help.

I see the ALL computers when I "View Workgroup Computers" (XP), and open "Network" "Vista", I see all of the computers.  I'm using DHCP on the router, but cannot ping the computers.  I have enabled all file and printer sharing and reviewed the network documentation and links.  I'm sure I'm missing something very simple, but I'm just not seeing it.

Thank you in advance!


Probably a misconfigured firewall on the XP machines (or multiple firewalls running inadvertently) because when file/printer sharing is properly set up there is no difficulty in sharing between XP and Vista. Here is information on general network troubleshooting. I know you've already done a lot of the work but perhaps something in here will help.

Excellent, thorough, yet easy to understand article about File/Printer Sharing in Vista. Includes details about sharing printers as well as files and folders:

For XP, start by running the Network Setup Wizard on all machines (see caveat in Item A below).

Problems sharing files between computers on a network are generally caused by 1) a misconfigured firewall or overlooked firewall (including a stateful firewall in a VPN); or 2) inadvertently running two firewalls such as the built-in Windows Firewall and a third-party firewall; and/or 3) not having identical user accounts and passwords on all Workgroup machines; 4) trying to create shares where the operating system does not permit it.

A. Configure firewalls on all machines to allow the Local Area Network (LAN) traffic as trusted. With Windows Firewall, this means allowing File/Printer Sharing on the Exceptions tab. Normally running the Network Setup Wizard on XP will take care of this for those machines.The only "gotcha" is that this will turn on the Windows Firewall. If you aren't running a third-party firewall or have an antivirus/security program with its own firewall component, then you're fine.  With third-party firewalls, I usually configure the LAN allowance with an IP range. Ex. would be Obviously you would substitute your correct subnet. Refer to any third party security program's Help or user forums for how to properly configure its firewall. Do not run more than one firewall. DO NOT TURN OFF FIREWALLS; CONFIGURE THEM CORRECTLY.

B. For ease of organization, put all computers in the same Workgroup. This is done from the System applet in Control Panel, Computer Name tab.

C. In Vista, turn Password Protected Sharing ON . Create matching user accounts and passwords on all machines. You do not need to be logged into the same account on all machines and the passwords assigned to each user account can be different; the accounts/passwords just need to exist and match on all machines. DO NOT NEGLECT TO CREATE PASSWORDS, EVEN IF ONLY SIMPLE ONES . If you wish a machine to boot directly to the Desktop (into one particular user's account) for convenience, you can do this:

XP - Configure Windows to Automatically Login (MVP Ramesh) -

Vista - Start Orb>Search box>type: netplwiz [enter]
Click on Continue (or supply an administrator's password) when prompted by UAC

Uncheck the option "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer". Select a user account to automatically log on by clicking on the desired account to highlight it and then hit OK. Enter the correct password for that user account (if there is one) when prompted. Leave it blank if there is no password (null).

D. If one or more of the computers is XP Pro or Media Center, turn off Simple File Sharing (Folder Options>View tab).

E. Create shares as desired. XP Home does not permit sharing of users' home directories or Program Files, but you can share folders inside those directories. A better choice is to simply use the Shared Documents folder. See the first link above for details about Vista sharing.

MS-MVP - Elephant Boy Computers - Don't Panic!
Elephant Boy Computers - Don't Panic!

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Question Info

Last updated March 25, 2020 Views 4,691 Applies to: