... I have resolved the problem. All users with administrator authority have to set up network/ICS. Everything is working fine now.
I had a 98se box that accessed internet via a cable modem and hung other systems off a small lan with a 3com Home Connect hub in order to provide internet access to them. Everything worked fine and then I lost the 98se box so I put a network card in a xp home box on the lan and, no problem, I was able to access internet fine on that.
My setup is:
cable modem->xp box->switch->wap->xp laptop
cable modem->xp box->switch->xp laptop
depending on whether I hardwire or wireless the laptop.
Firewalls are off on both systems, they are both xp home.
I now can't get internet access on the laptop and I can't access the xp box either.
When I view workgroup computers on the laptop it shows the laptop (sometimes shows the xp box but I can't access it).
When I try to view them on the xp box I get an error message:
Workgroup is not accessible. You may not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions. The list of servers for this workgroup is not currently available.