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Troubleshooting Network Problems (part 1) - Troubleshooting HomeGroup Problems & Network Troubleshooting Tools

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Windows 7 has built-in network diagnostic capabilities so that, in many cases, if there is a problem with your network connection, Windows knows about it before you do, displays a message, and often solves the problem.

To discover and resolve problems, Windows uses the Network Diagnostics Framework (NDF). When a network-dependent activity (for example, browsing to a website) fails, NDF automatically springs into action. NDF is designed to address the most common network-related issues, such as problems with file-sharing, website access, newly installed network hardware, connecting to a wireless network, and using a third-party firewall.


Note:

For more information about NDF, see "New Network Diagnostic Framework and Network Tracing Features in Windows 7" at w7io.com/1901.


If you encounter network problems that don't trigger an automatic response from Windows, you should first try to detect and resolve the problem with one of the built-in troubleshooters. In Network And Sharing Center, click Troubleshoot Problems to display the choices shown in Figure 1. (Alternatively, in the Troubleshooting control panel, click Network And Internet.)

Figure 1. Click any of these options to launch a troubleshooter that performs numerous diagnostic and corrective steps.


Each of the troubleshooting wizards performs several diagnostic tests, corrects some conditions, suggests actions you can take, and ultimately displays a report that explains the wizard's findings.

1. Troubleshooting HomeGroup Problems

The HomeGroup troubleshooting wizard provides a good example of how these trouble-shooters work. If you're having problems seeing shared resources in a homegroup and you didn't have the benefit of the troubleshooter's assistance, you'd need to check the following settings, among others:

  • The network location profile must be set to Home Network.

  • In Windows Firewall With Advanced Security, you'd need to ensure that the following groups of rules are enabled on private networks:

    • Core Networking

    • Network Discovery

    • HomeGroup

    • File/Printer Sharing (not on domain-joined machines)

    • Windows Media Player (not on domain-joined machines)

    • Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service (not on domain-joined machines)

  • The following services must be configured so that they can run:

    • HomeGroup Listener

    • HomeGroup Provider

    • Function Discovery Provider Host

    • Function Discovery Resource Publication

    • Peer Name Resolution Protocol

    • Peer Networking Grouping

    • Peer Networking Identity Manager

Running the HomeGroup troubleshooter—which you can launch from HomeGroup or by right-clicking HomeGroup in Windows Explorer as well as from the list of troubleshooters shown in Figure 1—checks each of these items and more. When you get to the wizard's last window, click View Detailed Information to see a troubleshooting report that lists the potential problems that the wizard attempted to identify and fix, as shown below:



2. Network Troubleshooting Tools

When the troubleshooters don't solve the problem, it might be time to dig deeper into the Windows toolbox. Windows 7 contains an assortment of utilities you can use to diagnose, monitor, and repair network connections. Table 1 lists some of the more useful networking-related command-line utilities and summarizes how you can use them. To learn more about each utility, including its proper syntax, in a Command Prompt window type the executable name followed by /?.

Table 1. Windows Network Utilities
Utility NameWhat It's Used For
Get MAC Address (Getmac.exe)Discovers the Media Access Control (MAC) address and lists associated network protocols for all network cards in a computer, either locally or across a network.
Hostname (Hostname.exe)Displays the host name of the current computer.
IP Configuration Utility (Ipconfig.exe)Displays all current Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) network configuration values, and refreshes Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and DNS settings.
Name Server Lookup (Nslookup.exe)Displays information about Domain Name System records for specific IP addresses and/or host names so that you can troubleshoot DNS problems.
Net services commands (Net.exe)Performs a broad range of network tasks. Type net with no parameters to see a full list of available command-line options.
Netstat (Netstat.exe)Displays active TCP connections, ports on which the computer is listening, Ethernet statistics, the IP routing table, and IPv4/IPv6 statistics.
Network Command Shell (Netsh.exe)Displays or modifies the network configuration of a local or remote computer that is currently running. This command-line scripting utility has a huge number of options, which are fully detailed in Help.
PathPing (Pathping.exe)Combines the functions of Traceroute and Ping to identify problems at a router or network link.
TCP/IP NetBIOS Information (Nbtstat.exe)Displays statistics for the NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NetBT) protocol, NetBIOS name tables for both the local computer and remote computers, and the NetBIOS name cache.
TCP/IP Ping (Ping.exe)Verifies IP-level connectivity to another internet address by sending Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) packets and measuring response time in milliseconds.
TCP/IP Route (Route.exe)Displays and modifies entries in the local IP routing table.
TCP/IP Traceroute (Tracert.exe)Determines the path to an internet address, and lists the time required to reach each hop. It's useful for troubleshooting connectivity problems on specific network segments.

A more powerful tool is available as a free download from Microsoft. Network Monitor is a protocol analyzer that lets you capture network traffic, view it, and analyze it. Download it at w7io.com/1906, and learn more about it on the Network Monitor blog at w7io.com/1907.

Other -----------------
- Fixing and Tweaking Your Network : Diagnosing Problems Using Network Map
- Fixing and Tweaking Your Network : Viewing Status in Network And Sharing Center
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- Connecting to Another Computer with Remote Desktop (part 3) - Using a Remote Desktop Connection
- Connecting to Another Computer with Remote Desktop (part 2) - Enabling Inbound Remote Desktop Connections
- Connecting to Another Computer with Remote Desktop (part 1) - Configuring Your Network for Remote Desktop Connections
- Finding and Using Shared Resources on a Windows Network
- Sharing Resources with Older Windows Versions (part 4) - Sharing a Printer & Setting Server Properties
- Sharing Resources with Older Windows Versions (part 3) - Setting Advanced Sharing Properties
- Sharing Resources with Older Windows Versions (part 2) - Sharing Files with Public Folders & Sharing Files and Folders from Any Folder
 
 
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