Wireless: Cannot see shared folders on Windows XP.

Our 2 new Lenovo laptops, running Windows 7 x64 Home, are unable to see the shared folders on Windows XP desktop via wireless. The desktop is hardwired to the wireless router which is then connected to the Verizon modem. I'm able to connect to the internet fine, and see the two laptops on the network. But no show on the XP computer and shared folders.

Here's the kicker. I go to disable the wireless, and connect the laptops via ethernet cable to the router, everything works. The shared folders on XP appears just fine on the laptops. I can access it and print to the network printer like I've been wanting. Would love to have this work on wireless. What gives? What am I missing?

Note: Firewall turned off.

I'd greatly appreciate any help at all.


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Have you tried these troubleshooting tips? How to make Windows 7 work with older Windows versions for networking and file sharing.

There are many instances where this problem does happen. Be sure to disable easy file sharing from Windows Explorer in Windows XP and set read/write access to "Everyone" on the shared folder as a work around. Windows 7 uses enhanced security when its on a LAN and lowering that security to support former versions of Windows can take a lot of time with trial and error. You are dealing with many years of security upgrades since the release of Windows XP, so you will encounter some strange problems like this.

That guide seems to be one of the most comprehensive in solving the issue, although it does not address wireless. On a business network, with Windows Server, you'd be able to cross this barrier since all computers authenticate to a central Windows network. Understandably, you can't do that in this instance.

Here is one variable that is absolutely different on a wireless network and could be the key to solving your problem. The NIC is different on wireless, and the settings could be configured differently. I will also give you some obvious tips:

Ensure the workgroup name is the same for all computers.
Open a command prompt ("cmd" in search) and try using the "net view" command from every computer

Try this command to ensure name resolution.

Example of net view:

C:\Users\Mike>net view
Server Name            Remark

The command completed successfully.
Disable IPv6
Some wireless NICs still can't handle IPv6 over wireless, especially those from the XP era. However, Windows 7 will prefer IPv6 based communications on the Local Area Network. In Windows XP and the Windows 7 computers, navigate your way to the wireless adapter properties and uncheck Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6). In Windows 7 this is called "Network Connections" and you can search on it from the Start Menu. In XP, navigate Control Panel until you reach this area under Networking.

Ensure all wireless NICs have the same DNS, Default Gateway, and Subnet Masks

You are likely relying on DHCP from your router. Best way to check on every system is to again launch cmd.exe (Windows Command Processor) and type:

ipconfig /all

Still having trouble? Paste the output of this information into a reply for all three computers and we will look for inconsistencies. You should also be looking for inconsistencies. The default gateway should be the same on every computer under the wireless NIC. The subnet mask should be the same. Netbios over TCP/IP should be enabled. DNS servers should be the same, and preferably point to the wireless router IP (the default gateway). If not, you will have trouble seeing other computers on the network.

The only thing different should be the IPv4 IP address.

HI Mike,

Thanks for the help. I'll try your suggestions and report back. I also want to add that the HP 3390 laser printer is on the network connected via ethernet cable. Since the printer is its own node, how do you explain why the printer works when I switch to ethernet. Not to mentioned the shared folder/files also shows up. But when switch to wireless, the folders disappear and the printer gets a spool error. So in theory, if we can get either one to work in wireless, everything will work.



Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
The entire schema of your network is impossible to identify remotely and with only some information that is here and there. I can only provide you with information I know of that could get you on your way again.

If the printer is always on ethernet it probably always has a network connection. Something is preventing the other systems from accessing the local area network once you are on wireless. What you would want to do is ensure that all of the computers are accessing the same local area network, and are all on the same Windows workgroup. They should be able to communicate with each other. If the printer is being shared out from one computer, over the Windows workgroup, this would explain the disappearing printer issue. I cannot say for certain what the problem is, but try some of those tips and see if it improves the situation?

You should be able to access systems that are wireless with systems that are not, back and forth, without difficulty. It sounds to me that the XP system is the variable problem, especially if it is the XP system that is sharing out the printer to all the other computers using the Windows print sharing feature and Windows network.

Networked Printer: Two Ways to Do This

Either all Computers directly connect to the Printer using IP-based networking or they use Windows Print Sharing which is 10x easier to set up and consolidates the Windows Network.

The reason why Windows print sharing makes more sense than physically connecting every computer to a printer using IP address, is that if one computer goes down in an office, it will usually signify that there is a problem with the Windows network to begin with. So instead of managing one level of the network as opposed to multiple levels, all you need to worry about is the Windows network and its infrastructure. A shared printer from Windows "going down" signifies that a problem needs to be resolved anyway. So Windows print sharing does have that benefit where logic is used to tell us that if one Windows system is down, it is best to address the root cause of the problem than to worry about everyone else continuing to mindlessly print documents. The second strategy, of networking every computer to a printer IP, is often used as a faux argument that it provides redundancy. It actually creates more overhead to manage printers that aren't on a Windows network than printers that are. You would want to have a contingency plan for the computers that host a printer as a shared Windows printer anyway. This is why I have never understood or agreed with the idea of connecting every computer in a building directly to a printer over a network. All you need to do is connect a server to the printer and share the printer out using the server. Windows print sharing was designed to make that process easier not more difficult.

All together, I suspect something is just not right with your WiFi settings, whether that is on the individual systems (more likely with XP in the mix), or from the router.

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