Unable to connect to Network File Shares in Windows XP

I thought I’d document this kind of repair as I recently had this issue with a customer.

xp-cannotfindcomputername

When you open a network path such as \\computername Windows XP presents the error “Windows cannot find ‘\\computername’. Check the spelling and try again, or try searching for the item by clicking the Start button and then clicking Search.”

Please note the following list are each steps to try. After completing each step you should test if you can then connect to Network Shares and stop if you can.

  1. Remove spyware infections. Use a tool like MalwareBytes or Combofix.
  2. Ensure there is firewall software installed other than the Windows Firewall. If firewall software is installed, disable it.
  3. Reset winsock. Open the command prompt by going to Start, Run, enter “cmd” and click Ok. Enter the command “netsh winsock reset”. You will then need to reboot the computer.
  4. Ensure that the Client for Microsoft Networks is installed. Click Start, Control Panel, double click Network Connections, right click your network connection and select Properties. You should have Client for Microsoft Networks near the top of the list. If you don’t, click Install, select Client and click Add, select Client for Microsoft Networks and click Ok.
  5. Ensure that NetBIOS over TCP is enabled. Click Start, Control Panel, double click Network Connections, right click your network connection and select Properties, select Internet Protocol TCP/IP and click Properties, click Advanced, click the WINS tab, and ensure that the check is beside Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP.
  6. Inspect the Windows Services and ensure you have all the required services running. Right click My Computer and select Manage. In Computer Management click the plus symbol next to Services and Applications and then click Services. Ensure that all the following services are both Started and have the Startup Type of Automatic: Network Connections, Remote Access Connection Manager, TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper & Workstation. If not, double click the service and alter the Startup Type or Status.

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