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Network Config Problems using File & Printer Sharing

by black069 / January 17, 2010 6:58 AM PST

Hello everyone!

I am having a heck of a time setting up "file and printer sharing" between my laptop and my desktop at my home. My "network" consists of a desktop computer (see specs for all devices below) connected to 2 printers (one via printer cable to LPT port; the other, which is radio-enabled, via USB cable). I have cable hi-speed internet service, with the incoming cable connected to a cable modem. An Ethernet cable then connects the modem to a wireless router (for my laptop). And another Ethernet cable connects the wireless router to the desktop computer.

I am able to connect to the internet with both computers without any problems whatsoever. And my desktop computer is able to print documents on both printers.

However, I cannot establish a permanent wireless connection to my desktop computer (technically to the access point/wireless router) to share files or print documents. I might be able to establish a connection sporadically, but then within a few hours neither computer recognizes the other as being part of the "workgroup".

I follow the common procedure for file and printer sharing (ie, for both computers, using "Network Setup Wizard" in Control Panel to turn on "file and printer sharing"). During the setup for both computers, I select as connection method "This computer connects to the Internet through a residential gateway or through another computer on my gateway." Then I select individual folders and printers to "share".

Does anybody see any errors here? Is there more to it than the directions mention? Is the issue that the OS on my laptop is XP Pro while on the desktop it's XP Home? Do I need to adjust the settings in Windows Firewall (the only firewall I have by the way)? Could the error be in the way my network adapters are configured? Is it the way in which I have set up the router (via logging in to Netgear's website) to add the MAC addresses of my laptop and my radio-enabled printer? What does it mean that internet connectivity is perfect, but it is not being seen as a network?

I should note that before I attempted file and printer sharing, I was able to print documents out on my radio-enabled printer, regardless of whether the desktop computer was on or not. Using file and printer sharing (on the rare occasions it does work), the desktop computer has to be on (not in standby or hibernation) in order for my laptop to be able to print wirelessly. Is that always the case, or is possible to somehow "wake up" the desktop when a document to print is pending?

Any help would be greatly appreciated as this is driving me insane.

For my DESKTOP computer:
Dell Dimension 4550
Intel Pentium 4
2.0 GB RAM
Windows XP Home SP3
Intel PRO/100 VE Network Connection

For my LAPTOP computer:
Dell Precision M6300
Windows XP Pro SP3
Intel Core-2 Duo CPU
Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 ABG Network Connection

Other Hardware:

(1) HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-One Series Printer
(2) HP LaserJet 6L Printer
(3) Netgear RangeMax Wireless Router WPN824 v2 (using 802.1g)
(4) Motorola SURFboard Digital Voice (Cable/VoIP) Modem SBV5222

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