I can't see other computers on the network, but they can see me...

Discussion in 'Windows Vista Networking' started by desperate, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. desperate

    desperate Guest

    I am using Vista home premium and I am regularly joining a domain, but I
    cannot see any other computer on the network (comprises of XP-running and
    MAC-running users), except myself. On the other hand, everyone can see me and
    I appear well connected. They can also open my public folders. I have set the
    network to private and firewall seems to be OK. Also, when I try to connet to
    a computer individually (like \\computer) I can connet. The only thing is
    that the computers of the network are not displayed to me. Isn't this a
    little bit strange?

    Any ideas would be extremely helpful...
    desperate, Jun 26, 2007
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  2. desperate

    koze Guest

    The home versions cannot join a domain, for domain use you have to use
    Business or Ultimate.
    koze, Jun 26, 2007
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  3. desperate

    Marcc Guest

    Koze, (or anyone else who knows this answer...) I am having the same troubles
    and symptoms as "desperate" with Vista Home Premium when I use my laptop at
    home... But the difference for me is that at home my network is not
    controlled by a domain controller, instead it is a simple WORKGROUP... As
    "desperate" said, from my laptop I cannot automatically discover other
    computers on my network at home, instead I have to explicitly refer to them
    using the \\ network protocol. Are you saying that Vista Home Premium cannot
    discover other computers in the same WORKGROUP to which it belongs?

    And here is another puzzler for me... when I take my laptop in to two
    different work sites, one which IS controlled by a domain and the other a
    workgroup, in both places, my laptop can automatically discover other
    computers on those networks as I was expecting... So your answer does not
    make complete sense to me... Can you provide me with further information as
    to possible reasons why my laptop does work on some networks but not on my
    home network? From what I can observe, it appears as if the laptop is using
    NETBIOS protocols to discover other computers at the two different worksite
    networks, but it is refusing to use the NETBIOS protocols to discover other
    computers on my home network... What would cause this inconsistency in

    Finally, and I wish I could get an answer from the gurus at Microsoft who
    designed Vista, if the Home versions of Vista cannot discover or work within
    networks, why in the world did they include the network GUI interfaces? That
    seems to imply, to any normal user, that one can use, join, and discover
    other computers on a network in which they have joined... I am finding Vista
    to be incredibly confusing and wish someone could point me to a easy to
    understand explanation of Vista's networking models and how the various GUIs
    and versions of Vista are suppose to guide the user to using and
    understanding the network capabilities that they each support....

    Marcc, Jun 30, 2007
  4. desperate

    Chuck Guest


    Any Windows computer is capable of automatically discovering other computers.
    You do have to setup the browser infrastructure properly, and this is a problem
    to many folks.

    Now the "NetBIOS protocol" (and there is not a NetBIOS protocol, though there is
    a "NetBIOS Over TCP" transport) can be used, or it can be omitted. You have to
    be consistent though. You have to consider a lot of factors in deciding whether
    to use NetBT on your LAN.
    # How is name resolution setup?
    # Do you have any computers running anything other than Windows 2000, XP , and
    # How are your firewalls setup?

    As far as the various GUIs and versions of Vista go, there are no glaring
    differences like Windows XP Home vs Pro. All versions of Vista are capable of
    operating in a workgroup, to the same effectiveness. You do have to setup each
    computer properly though.

    Chuck, MS-MVP [Windows - Networking]
    Paranoia is not a problem, when it's a normal response from experience.
    My email is AT DOT
    actual address pchuck mvps org.
    Chuck, Jul 1, 2007
  5. desperate

    Marcc Guest

    Thanks Chuck for your reply. Actually I have visited PChuck's network blog
    (yours??) many times in trying to set up my Vista laptop to work on my home
    network. It wasn't helping me much other that to let me review networking
    principals.... (IMHO this website is way to complicated/complex for the
    average user to understand, which is sad because having home/small business
    networks is such a desirable and useful feature and many non computer savoy
    folks are gonna want em...) I write software professionally, am a degreed
    computer geek so was able to understand much of it, though my expertise does
    not lie with networks. But wowza! most users trying to set up a network are
    gonna be completely snowed trying to read those blogs!

    I will say, as one who has designed a lot of software with GUIs, I
    completely despise the GUI's that Microsoft presents their users on
    networking... They DO NOT lead the users to the solutions that they desire,
    very well, and that is an utter failure on the part of Microsoft's design
    team and management.

    That said, I decided to start from scratch and rebuild my network from the
    ground up, at home. In the process I discovered what I think are possibly
    three serious errors on Microsoft's part. I think that one of the XP Pro
    computers on my LAN had somehow gotten the notion that it was part of a
    domain and not in a simple WORKGROUP. EVEN THOUGH it was reporting (in My
    Computer's properties) that it was a member of my workgroup. When I used the
    wizard, instead of the manual approach, to reconfigure this XP computer as
    part of a Workgroup, the Vista laptop's ability to discover other computers
    on my home network suddenly started working! So somehow, the XP Pro computer
    was preventing the Vista laptop's ability to discover other computers, by
    using NETBIOS, was failing.

    Up till now, I have been trying to establish each computer as a member of
    the same workgroup via the manual interface, not via the wizard. This leads
    me to believe that there is a serious discrepancy between what is set via the
    wizard, and what is set via the manual interfaces. If so, I am disgusted that
    Microsoft has never bothered to test or fix this problem as it will cause a
    LOT of users difficulties and frustration.

    The second error, if what I now suspect is true, is that if just one
    computer on a network is mis-configured, that apparently will prevent a
    computer running Vista from discovering any other computers on the network.
    If so, then the design of Vista's network discovery process is NOT very
    robust. It (my laptop with Vista) should have been able to discover most of
    the other computers on my network which were properly configured as members
    of the same workgroup to which I had configured my laptop for, IMHO.

    The third serious error is the fact that Vista simply fails, without any
    kind of explanation or guidance, is another serious flaw in Microsofts GUI. I
    do NOT understand why Microsoft's GUI's does now allow the user to give
    feedback and report to the OS, after opening up a window onto the network,
    whether or not the user is seeing other computers on the network as expected.
    And if NOT, it is then the responsibility of the GUI and underlying OS to
    figure out why, such a failure is occurring, and what must be done to fix it.
    IT IS NOT THE USERS RESPONSIBILITY to have to become and expert in networking
    and figure out how to fix it!!!

    The poor user CANNOT be expected to have to read all that documentation on
    PChucks website and have to earn a degree in networking in order to get a
    computer to work in a simple network environment. MOST USERS ARE NOT COMPUTER
    GEEKS, and that website is WAY BEYOND their capabilities to understand. The
    inability of Microsofts UI to help users set up a network, in a simple
    intuitive way, is a GROSS failure on the part of Microsoft and hence the
    reason why so many users are becoming frustrated with using computers. Vista
    apparently is just another turn out of flashy bells and whistles, but remains
    a disappointing OS without much thought having been given to making it a
    robust easy to use tool. Setting up a network, under Windows OSs remains a
    nightmare as it has always been... Even PChuck recognizes this fact because
    he has gone to so much trouble to generate all that documentation, but that
    is an extremely poor solution for the average user.

    Anywise, bottom line is I got it to work, the fix was a surprise, and I hope
    Microsoft's engineers and management are reading posts such as mine. My
    biggest peeve with that company is that they don't make it easy for users to
    give them feedback or seem to be paying much attention to their users
    experiences. Otherwise problems such as this would have gotten fixed long ago
    and PChuck wouldn't have to write such a humongous blog on networking!


    Marcc, Jul 1, 2007
  6. Marc,

    Networking Windows computers can be quite easy when done properly, but gets
    incredibly complex when you make one or two small mistakes. Microsoft makes
    several mistakes, constantly, which compound that issue.

    1) Most of their documentation is procedure oriented (they tell you how to use
    each tool, or what to do with each setting), rather than goal oriented (they
    should tell you how to accomplish a given result). And we get caught up in the

    2) They insist making each new version of Windows backwards compatible with
    every preceding version. If they'd just designate Windows 95, 98, ME, and NT
    OBSOLETE, and provide financial compensation to motivate folks to trash their
    out of date systems, everybody (except maybe the botnet owners and hackers)
    would be better off.

    3) Windows is designed equally for home, small business, and huge business
    networks. There are numerous settings involved, in making computers perform
    well in either different environment. Getting computers in either environment
    work well involves getting all settings precisely and properly set.

    But don't let the level of confusion, displayed in these forums, mislead you.
    What you see here are a small minority of computer owners. How many problems do
    you see, being discussed, each day? How many computers are being sold, during
    that same day?

    This is a hospital for sick computer users. There is no world wide epidemic of
    computer death. Most computer owners are busy surfing the web, or sharing files
    within the house, and you won't see THEM posting here. People said the same
    things (and worse) about Windows XP, and about Windows NT and (ancient history)
    Windows 3.1 before that.

    So I'm glad that you were able to solve your problems. If you have more
    problems, please post back, let us help you, and maybe you will help us discover
    another detail about Vista that we haven't written about yet. This is peer

    Chuck, MS-MVP 2005-2007 [Windows - Networking]
    Paranoia is not a problem, when it's a normal response from experience.
    My email is AT DOT
    actual address pchuck mvps org.
    Chuck [MVP - Windows Networking], Jul 2, 2007
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