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Troubleshooting Network Share Problems

Are you having a problem connecting to a Windows network share (e.g. \\computer_name\share_name) or the default administrator shares (e.g. \\computer_name\c$)?  This happens to computers on networks that are connected to a domain controller or local workgroup.

In my own personal experience has been that local workgroups are more unreliable then domain controller connected shares.  Below are tips to help troubleshoot this problem:
  • Has there recently been any new updates or changes in the hardware, operating systems, software or configuration made on the client or remote computer?
    • For example, were system or application updates installed
  • Is the problem happening from one machine on your network or all the machines on your network?
    • If its just one computer is having the a problem connecting to it, see if it having problems connecting to other computers.  If its just the one computer, reboot and try again.
    • If multiple computers are having problems connecting to the share, then there could be an issue with the share's configuration or the file and print service on the remote computer.
  • Are you having a problem with one or all the file shares on the computer?
    • If you're having a problem with one share delete and recreate.
    • If multiple shares are failing, it could be a problem with the network configuration or file and print service.
  • Can you ping the computer? Its possible that the client is having problems communicating with the DNS servers or the network configuration or the local machine is not setup correctly
    • Trying pinging the computer:
      • Local Machine: ping localhost or ping 127.0.0.1
        • If this doesn't work there is something wrong with the local machines network configuration  drivers, hardware or connection.
      • DNS Name: ping machine_name
      • FQDN: ping machine_name.example.com
      • IP Address: ping 10.1.1.10
    • Note: If you can't ping the machine with the DNS Name, try the FQDN, if that fails try the IP address.  If you are able to ping the machine with any of these, then try to use that method to connect to it: net use * \\machine_name.example.com
  • Does the account have the right file and share permissions?
    • If the account you're trying to use to connect doesn't have proper permission to file and share, then you're not going to be able to access the file.  Make sure to check them both.
  • Make sure that no existing connections are preventing you from making a new connection.
    • Open up the Windows explorer and clear all remote connections by right clicking them and selecting disconnect, also open up the command prompt and type "net use * /delete"
  • Do you know that the account doesn't have a password or is the account locked?
    • If you're using a workgroup account:
      • Try resetting the account password to the account you're using to connect to the share.
      • Try creating a different account, and setup the permissions, and try to access the share.
  • On the remote computer make sure the share is setup correctly in the Computer Management console (COMPMGMT.MSC).
    • Tip: In the Computer Management console kill off all Sessions connected to the share.
  • Make sure the firewall ports are not blocked?
    • If you can't connect to the network share, make sure the ports are open in the firewall and accessible by the remote computer.
Other considerations: 
  • Windows 7 and higher 
    • Try disabling or leaving the HomeGroup (in the Control Panel \ Network and Sharing Center \ HomeGroup)
    • Check your "Advanced Sharing Settings" (in the Control Panel\Network and Sharing Center) in the Home and Work profile, make sure the "File and Printer sharing" is enabled.
    • Make sure you're not using the Public profile  (in Control Panel\Network and Sharing Center), this setting blocks all ports.
  • Workgroup vs. Domain
    • Are both machines (local and remote) in the same workgroup or domain?
  • Network configuration
    • Was the network configuration changed (see IPCONFIG /ALL)
  • Adapter configuration
    • Are all the appropriate protocols enabled?
    • Where there any changes to the HOST file
  • Service configuration
    • Did someone change the default ports?
  • Network considerations:
    • Other thing that can effect communication are: IPSEC, VLANs, IPv6, NAP (Network Access Protection), etc. talk to your network engineer about these issues.
Getting an "Access is denied." error when connecting to a share

Are you encountering a situation where you're getting an "Access is denied" error when connecting to a share on a machines in a workgroup.  For example, if you used following command:
net use * \\computername\d$ /user:computername\username password

Then you get the following error: 
System error 5 has occurred.
Access is denied.

Try running the following command (requires the administrator command prompt): 
reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy /t REG_DWORD /d 1

To manually implement the change:
Warning: by modifying the registry you run the risk of damaging your operating system, only proceed if you know what you're doing.  The reader takes all responsibility for ANY damage or problems that may occur by following these instructions.
  • Start the Registry Editor (REGEDIT.EXE).
    • If you get the UAC prompt, acknowledge it.
  • Locate and then click the following registry sub-key:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ System
  • in the Edit menu, select New and then select DWORD (32-bit) value.
  • In name field type LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy, and then press the Enter key.
  • Right-click the LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy, and then press the Modify button.
  • In the Value data box, type 1, and then press the OK button.
  • Quit the registry editor. 
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