I have a home network with a DIR-655 router, 1 XP PRO desktop, 1 Win7 laptop.

From the Win7 machine, I can ping the XP machine, and I can access shared folders if I use IP address, but I cannot use the name of the machine.

The reason why this is an issue is because I have just added a mediasmart server to the network, and in order for the Win7 laptop to sync with the server, the laptop needs to connect to the server by name.

Also, when I open explorer from the laptop and look at the list of network computers, the laptop only sees itself.

How can I get my Win7 machine to see other machines on the network, and allow it to find machines by name? I have tried making a lot of changes to the laptop and the desktop, but possibly the problem is in the router.

Your suggestions are appreciated; I will be more than happy to try out your suggestions.

  • thanks for the answers, it might take me some time before I can try everything out. – MedicineMan Sep 18 '10 at 1:25

This question is probably better asked on SuperUser.com, and I suspect will be short-lived here. But while I'm typing, try manually editing the hosts file on your laptop (c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts) and add the IP address and name of the server. Also, make sure the windows computers in your network are in the same workgroup if you aren't joined to a domain.


First make sure that the Win7 and Mediasmart machines have network discovery turned on: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Enable-or-disable-network-discovery and then give all the machines a little time to talk to each other (5 minutes should be fine). If it isn't working at that point (and I've a feeling it wouldn't be -certainly from the XP box) then you have two options.

  1. If your DIR-655 is handing out DHCP addresses and your mediasmart can run as DNS server (I'm not familiar with Windows Home Server but I'd guess it can) you need to set the router to give out the mediasmart as the DNS Server. The mediasmart will pick up all your local machines and should allow resolution between them and out to the internet as well.
  2. Edit the hosts file on each machine so that it has the name of the other machines. You'll need to set each machine to a static IP on your network for this to work properly.

nedm has a good answer, but to elaborate: If you want to see all of the computers in Network Neighborhood or My Network Places you need to make sure they're all in the same workgroup, that NetBIOS over TCP is enabled, that File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks is bound to the network adapter, that the Workstation service is running, that the Server service is running, and that the Computer Browser service is running.

If you want to be able to connect to each computer by name, you can use any one of the following mechanisms: the lmhosts file on each computer (for NetBIOS name resolution), the hosts file on each computer (for DNS name resolution), or set up an internal DNS server and configure each computer to register with this server and to use this server for DNS resolution.

  • do they really need to be in the same workgroup? I've got a win7 laptop and a mac-mini at home and the mac-mini shows up in win7 network browser... – Paul D'Ambra Sep 20 '10 at 13:05
  • Hmmm, the more that sits in my brain the more I think I had to edit GPO on the Win7 machine for the mac to show up... – Paul D'Ambra Sep 20 '10 at 13:10

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