Microsoft Windows Network: The network name cannot be found

I have a PC running XP with a Western Digital My Book external drive connected to it. My laptop running Windows 7 (and my daughter's netbook running Vista) can no longer access the WD hard drive. The rest of my network works fine (all three computers have internet access and can access the shared printer). I have lost touch with the person who set this all up for me and I have tried to apply what I have read in other posts (that seem to me to be related but are not quite the same) to my problem but can not get anywhere. When I click on (N:) this is the message I get:

An error occurred while reconnecting N: to
\\192.168....Home Network Share
Microsoft Windows Network: The network name cannot be found
This connection has not been restored

I suspect that there is something many of you folks will see as simple that I am missing, but I just can not seem to find an answer anywhere. I am completely stumped by this problem and getting quite frustrated. Any help would be very much appreciated.

Have you checked the host computer's configuration? Can you access the external HD from the computer it is plugged into?

If so, and if under winXP, I believe you can right-click on the drive of your external HD (N) and check option "sharing and security" or "share". From there, you should be able to see "network sharing", and check option "share on network" + "authorize modifications..." (for read and write access).

I gave these directions based on souvenirs and exact wording may differ, but principles remain.


Wow, thank you for your prompt response. It did help in that it brought my attention to the fact that on my PC the external drive is called My Book (I:) and within that there is a folder called "Home Network Share" - I believe that maybe the original intention was that this was the folder that was meant to have shared access across my network? If so, is my problem then that on my laptop I am trying to access it through Home Network Share (N:) under Network Locations? (Note: this used to work when the network was originally set up)

I also followed your instructions and the box for 'share this on the network' was not checked (although that box was checked for the folder mentioned above called "Home Network Share" on that drive. I checked that box and clicked 'apply'. It still does not work when I try to access it on my laptop. What should i do?

(BTW, yes, I can access the My Book (I:) from the host PC).

Sharing only the subfolder makes sense indeed, and I even think Windows tries to avoid sharing roots for security reasons. Although on a domestic LAN (i.e. family LAN), I don't think it really matters.

Well, at least your HD is working properly. Do you have any non-vista/7 computer that can actually access your HD remotely? Do you know if that still works?

If so, then the issue is probably on vista/7 sides, probably around the netbios protocol (file sharing ability). On the win7 host, can you run a command prompt (windows key + R, type "cmd") and enter "net view \\IP.address" where IP.address corresponds to the winXP host that share the HD?


Noob Whisperer
An error occurred while reconnecting N: to
\\192.168....Home Network Share
Microsoft Windows Network: The network name cannot be found
This connection has not been restored
Hello and welcome to the forums.
It could be possible that since you are using the IP address of the host computer in the UNC path, when you mapped the N drive, that sometime recently that IP address has changed due perhaps to it's DHCP address expiring and a new and different one having been allocated. Check the host machine using ipconfig /all from a command prompt to confirm that the IP address is still accurate and valid

Okay, I have what looks like two promising methods of attack from the two posts above but I am not sure I am clear on exactly how to pursue either.

Sogoodtobe... I do not have a non-Vista/7 computer that I can try. But are you suggesting that I can work around my problem by just granting access to that folder within the WD Drive? If so, I am more than happy with any solution (even one like this that I believe slightly changes my set-up?) that will work and all I'd need to know is how to do what you are suggesting to go directly to that folder?

Trouble... I vaguely (mostly) understand what you are saying but you've lost me on what exactly it is that I need to do to check that my IP address is still active and valid. Sorry to have to ask, but can you please provide more detailed instruction?

Thank you...

No problem. In either case you need to know the IP address of the host on which your HD is plugged into :)

Log into this computer, open a command prompt (windows key + R, then type "cmd"). In the new window, enter "ipconfig" and go to the line that describes your network connection (probably local area network or so) and write down the IPv4 address found there. This is basically the IP address of the host sharing your HD, hence the IP address of the HD. You need this address to access the HD remotely.

Once done, go to another computer and try to access that IP address remotely. Run a command prompt again and enter "net view \\IP.address" where IP.address corresponds to the address found above. It must be something like or similar. If the command runs fine, then Trouble is probably right. If not, then we need to go further.


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