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Troubleshooting Windows 95/98 networking problems

Troubleshooting Windows 95/98 networking problems

Windows 95/98 peer to peer networking is one of the simplest types of networking. As a result, most Windows 95/98 peer to peer networking problems that are not hardware caused are to do with what could be called setup discipline! rather than anything else. That said, Windows 95/98 networking is definitely flaky! at best and can throw in its own problems that ha"e nothing to do with the ability of the person setting up the network. #n general, the ma$ority of Windows 95/98 peer to peer networking problems fall into one category % the inability for one or more PCs to see another PC! This document pro"ides a few troubleshooting tips to address this type of problem. The "arious areas we will be looking at in this document are as follows % &rotocol rationalisation 'issing bindings Workgroup 'isspelling (omputer, Workgroup, and )hare *ame problems *o &( defined as +rowse 'aster. ,ile and &rinter )haring needing to be re-installed. *etwork card using #./01 Windows using a different #./ for the network card from that assigned by the +#2). Windows "### only allows A$%& a$'& #$9& and $!

2ther recommended reading besides this document % (nstalling a PC onto a Windows 95/98 network in the Windows 95 3 98! section of the 4ibrary of Answers That Work.

Proto)ol rationalisation

The multiplicity of unneeded protocols is often the most common cause of an inability to see a specific &( on a network.

#f you are running more than one protocol, e.g. both T(&/#& and #&5/)&5, pare the proto)ols down to only one (if you understand TCP/IP, use it in preference to all others)! 6nless you are running specialised software which uses a protocol other than your chosen Windows networking protocol, for a Windows 95/98 network either

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Troubleshooting Windows 95/98 networking problems

T(&/#& or #&5/)&5 will do ; there is no need to ha"e both, and there is certainly no need to run the anti<uated *et+=6# protocol. ="en when the bindings are correct and consistent across all &(s we ha"e seen enough instances of connection problems to be confident in saying that, in our e>perience, the multiplicity of protocols on &(s connected to a Windows 95/98 network seems to always throw up a problem on one &( somewhere on the network.

2nce you ha"e uninstalled all the unneeded protocols, make sure that you still ha"e *ile + Printer ,haring enabled and that it is bound to the protocol you ha"e decided to keep ?To check this, look at the &roperties of the protocol you ha"e decided to keep, choose the +indings! tab, and make sure that it shows ,ile 3 &rinter )haring as being bound to it@.

Aere is a reference table on networking protocols %

(P-/,P-

This is the default proto)ol that gets loaded when you load the Client for Microsoft Networks. This protocol was first in"ented by *o"ell and 'icrosoft had to make it its default protocol because of the predominance of *o"ell at the time that Windows 95 was in"ented. This is the (nternet standard protocol and is now also becoming the world standard protocol for all networks ; NetWare 5.x and Windows 2000 now use it as their default protocol instead of IP !"P which used to #e the default protocol pre$NetWare 5 and pre$Windows 2000. #f you are setting up a complete Windows 95/98 network from scratch, then use TCP/(P in preference to #&5/)&5 as it is a much more robust! protocol than #&5/)&5, particularly in the case of database applications. *ote, howe"er, that T(&/#& on a Windows 95/98 network demands proper documentation of the #& addresses, as each &( needs to ha"e a uni<ue #& address and at the same time you cannot, on peer to peer Windows 95/98 networks, ha"e a ser"er process that allocates the #& addresses automatically ; you ha"e to set them up manually and document them properly in some Aelp9esk document. (f you are not familiar with (P addresses then use (P-/,P- initially! (t is ad.isable& howe.er& that you learn about (P addresses so that you )an later mo.e your Windows 95/98 network to TCP/(P rather than (P-/,P-!

TCP/(P

/et012(

This protocol is an old protocol. #t is the default networking protocol for Windows 3!45 networks ?Windows B.0> networks do not understand #&5/)&5@. While it works fine, you should try not to use it for a network of &(s running only Windows 95/98 as it is the slowest protocol. The only time that you will need this protocol is if you need to network a Windows 95/98 &( with a Windows B.0 &(, or if you ha"e a specific networked application that uses *et+=6# to communicate between &(s running the same

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Troubleshooting Windows 95/98 networking problems

networked application, e.g. the )A&) modem sharing software where )A&) on each &( communicates with )A&) on the &( that has the modem, using *et+=6#.

6issing 0indings

/uite often a &( is not being seen on a network because *ile + Printer ,haring is not bound to the protocol that is actually being used by that &( to communicate with the other &(s on the Windows 95 network. Typically this would ha"e happened as a result of a protocol ha"ing been installed after the installation of ,ile 3 &rinter )haring. #f you are running more than one protocols on your &( and you need to run more than one protocol, then the easiest solution is to go into the properties of each protocol, look at the +indings! tab and make sure that *ile + Printer ,haring is bound to each protocol. The reason it is safer to do it that way is that if many &(s on the network run more than one protocol, you will ne"er easily find out which protocol is actually used by Windows 95/98 on a specific &(. Worse, on one day #&5/)&5 may be used, while on another day T(&/#& may be the one that gets chosen. (mportant 7 (f you ha.e a 8ial$2p Adapter )onfigured as well as a network )ard& make sure you bind *ile + Printer ,haring only to proto)ols running on the network )ard and /9T to proto)ols running on the 8ial$2p Adapter! The reason is that if you bind ,ile 3 &rinter )haring to a protocol that runs on your 9ial-6p Adapter, say T(&/#& running on your 9ial-6p Adapter, then, whene"er you connect to the #nternet, you will effecti"ely be gi"ing any hacker out there on the #nternet, access to the files on your &( and, possibly, the rest of your network.

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Troubleshooting Windows 95/98 networking problems

Workgroup 6isspelling

#f a &( cannot see any of the other &(s on the Windows 95/98 network, and none of the other &(s can see it either, you may ha"e spelt the workgroup incorrectly. )ince on a Windows 95/98 network a &( will immediately recognise &(s in the same workgroup, much faster than it will see &(s in other workgroups ?which it does e"entually!@, mis-spelling the workgroup will result in your &( not being to immediately connect to any of the other &(s in the workgroup you had intended to connect with.

PC& Workgroup + ,hare /ame Problems

Windows 95a:s 8$)hara)ter undo)umented limit #f one of the &(s on your network is running Windows 95a, keep all (omputer, Workgroup, and )hare names on your Windows network, to 8 )hara)ters ma5imum! Windows 95a does not handle well any network name that is longer than 8 characters ?the old 92) limit@, and sometimes $ust plainly does not handle them at all. #t is not always easily reproducible, but whene"er it happens, changing the offending name to 8 characters or less sol"es the problem.

/e.er ha.e spa)es in network names (omputer and Workgroup names can be up to 05 characters. What is not ob"ious, #ecause Windows actuall% allows %ou to use the& without issuin' an error &essa'e( is that you should not use spaces in your Computer /ame, Workgroup /ame, or ,hare /ame! (learly 'icrosoft should ha"e designed this better and pre"ented the end-user from actually being able to enter spaces in these "arious network name fields, but it did not. As a result many people end up fighting for hours baffling and confusing connection problems caused by network names that contain spaces. *ote, by the way, that the Computer 8es)ription field also has the rather odd restriction that you should not use commas in that field C

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Troubleshooting Windows 95/98 networking problems

/o PC defined as 0rowse 6aster

2n a Windows 95/98 network, there must be at least one &( that is configured as a 0rowse 6aster &(. The list of &(s connected to a specific workgroup on a Windows 95/98 network is maintained by the main +rowse 'aster! &( in that workgroup. There is only one main +rowse 'aster for a gi"en workgroup for ea)h proto)ol used in the workgroup. Therefore, if you do not ha"e a single +rowse 'aster &( within your WorkDroup, then none of the &(s will be able to see one another through *etwork *eighborhood. #n its default configuration, Windows 95/98 normally has the +rowse 'aster setting set to Automatic! and &(s usually do a good $ob at electing a +rowse 'aster between themsel"es. There are some times, howe"er, specifically when setting up a T(&/#& based Windows 95/98 network ?T(&/#& is the most reliable protocol for Windows 95/98 networks, incidentally@, where the election! does not work properly, or is incredibly slow to occur. #f you feel that this may be the case, set one of the &(s on your network with 0rowse 6ater set to 1nabled, as illustrated below %

(hoose the &( that is the most likely to be 2*! most of the time, rather than a &( that will often be switched off when others need to use the network. Do to ,tart ; ,ettings ; Control Panel ; /etwork! Aighlight *ile + Printer ,haring and click on the Properties button. Eou should get the window below %

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Troubleshooting Windows 95/98 networking problems

)et 0rowse 6aster to 1nabled rather than to Automatic!. .eboot that &(. Test.

*ile and Printer ,haring needing to be re$installed

Another problem we ha"e often come across and which had us fo>ed the first time we came across it, is the need sometimes to simply de-install and re-install *ile and Printer ,haring! Although we ha"e e>perienced the problem in other circumstances, this problem happens typically in this type of scenario % Eou pre"iously had your network running on the #&5/)&5 or *et+=6# protocol and decided to change it to T(&/#&. Eou add T(&/#&, and get rid of the other protocols. Eou check your T(&/#& protocol bindings and ,ile and &rinter )haring is bound to it. Eou can ping from &( to &(. Aowe"er, when you try to browse the /etwork /eighborhood you cannot see your &(, and other &(s cannot see you. *o matter what you try you $ust cannot get to see yourself in *etwork *eighborhood and other &(s cannot see you either when they browse *etwork *eighborhood.

(n 8#< of )ases that we ha.e en)ountered& this problem after the abo.e s)enario& *ile and Printer ,haring simply needs to be de$installed and then re$installed! 9o so as follows % ; ; ; ; ; .emo"e ,ile and &rinter )haring. .eboot. .e-install ,ile and &rinter )haring. .eboot. )ee if you can see yourself in *etwork *eighborhood. #f you can, others on the network will finally be able to see you.

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Troubleshooting Windows 95/98 networking problems

/etwork )ard uses (=>4"

Eou ha"e tried e"erything and cannot communicate with other &(s using any protocol, whether #&5/)&5, T(&/#&, or *et+=6#. #f that is the case check the #./s used by your &( as follows % ,tart ; ,ettings ; Control Panel ; ,ystem (lick on the 8e.i)e 6anager tab. 9ouble-click on Computer right at the top of the list that is displayed. This brings up the (omputer &roperties window which initially lists de"ices in #./ used! order, as shown below %

#n the e>ample abo"e you will see that the #ntel network card is using #./00, which is fine. #f you find that your network card is using (=>4"& then you must try e"erything to ensure that it is mo"ed to a different #./ by Windows. The reason is that #./01 is reser"ed for the &)/1 mouse and although Windows will not show you a conflict e>clamation mark against the network card if it too is using #./01, it will ne"ertheless not be able to properly communicate with your network card, with the result that you will not be able to communicate with other &(s regardless of the protocol that you use ?in effect this could be classed as a Windows 95/98 bug as #./01 should simply not be made a"ailable if the motherboard supports a &)/1 mouse@. Windows always tries e"erything that it can before putting any de"ice other than the &)/1 mouse on #./01. #f it cannot, it is because your &( has <uite a few de"ices and it ran out of #./s. #f that is the case you must free an #./ - the most common way to do that, normally, is to disable one or both (2' ports in the motherboardGs +#2), thus freeing #./B and #./8H howe"er, you must also make sure that both #./B and #./8 ?or $ust the one you free up@ are specified as being PnP in the PnP/PC( Configuration section of your motherboardGs
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Troubleshooting Windows 95/98 networking problems

+#2) ?if you do not set them as &n&!, &lug and &lay, then your motherboard will not be able to allocate them to your &(Gs &lug and &lay add-on cards. 2nce you ha"e freed those #./s in the +#2), if you are lucky, some of the other de"ices will take up those freed #./s and your network card will mo"e off #./01. #f you are unlucky, the other de"ices in your &( will be unable to use #./B and #./8 ?not all de"ices can@ and your only solution will be to find a replacement add-on card ?modem, scanner, network, sound, )()#, whate"er it is@ that can use #./B or #./8.

Windows uses a different (=> from that assigned to the network )ard by the 0(9,

This is the weirdest problem we ha"e e"er come across and is a Windows 98 bug in our opinion. We ha"e ne"er seen the problem occur with Windows 95, but two or three times with Windows 98. Also, the problem seems to occur almost e>clusi"ely with pre-Eear1::: motherboards, and not with any motherboards produced in Eear 1::: or later. The reason we are certain the problem is a Windows 98 bug is that if you load the same &( with Windows 95b/c, the problem is $ust not there C +asically, what typically happens is as follows % Eou boot up your &(. 9uring the booting up process, your &( displays the 0(9, ,ummary )creen which lists your processor, memory, hard disks, (9-.2' dri"es, parallel ports, serial ports, and ....... the #./s assigned at boot-up to your AD& and &(# &lug and &lay cards. +eing attenti"e, you see that your network card has been assigned an #./, #./00 say. Aowe"er, once into Windows 98, when you go and ha"e a look at the #./ list you find that your network card has been assigned a different #./ in Windows, #./01 say.

This is a Windows 98 bug ? The result is that Windows is not communicating properly with your network card and you ha"e absolutely no chance of e"er being able to see the other &(s on your network or ha"e the other &(s see your &(.

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Troubleshooting Windows 95/98 networking problems

There is not fi5 ?? When you ha"e that problem you only ha"e two choices %

a@ b@

Aoad Windows 95b or 95) instead of Windows 98! 9r )hange the motherboard!

Windows "### only allows A$%& a$'& #$9& and $

With the arri"al of Windows "### a number of users ha"e been networking, on a peer to peer basis, mi>tures of Windows 95/98 &(s with Windows 1::: &rofessional &(s and finding that, sometimes, they cannot see the Windows 1::: &( or "ice "ersa. #n a ma$ority of cases the problem is to do with some of the &(s ha"ing a name which contains an unders)ore Be!g CommsC,er.er @. 6nderscores are allowed in Windows 95/98 but with Windows 1::: it results either in the Windows 1::: &( not being "isible on the peer to peer network ?unless the network includes a 9*) ser"er@, or in the Windows 1::: &( not being able to see &(s that ha"e underscores in their names. To fi> this simply replace the underscore with a hyphen in the names of all the &(s on the network, e.g. Comms$,er.er !

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