12 Tips to Troubleshoot Network File-Sharing

By Eric Geier | Posted July 02, 2009

Can't open a shared folder or even see the computer on the network, or edit a shared folder or its files when you want to?

Whatever the sharing problem is, review these tasks and techniques. You'll probably find the underlying cause or simply get sharing working like you want. Now get started!

#1 Manually Access Shares

The basic way to access shares on a network is to pull up My Network Places in XP or Network in Vista and browse to the workgroup, computer, and folder. However, you can also access shares manually, which may work even if you can't browse to them. Just like typing in a path to a local file (e.g. C:/Windows/), you can type the path to shares (e.g. \desktopMy Documents).

This is called the UNC path and is formatted as:

\computer_nameshare_nameoptional_file_name

#2 Use the Windows Repair and Diagnostics Tools

In Windows XP, right-click the network icon in the system tray and select Repair. In Windows Vista, right-click the Network and Sharing Center icon and click Diagnose and Repair.

A status window will pop up while Windows runs some checks and tests. At the end, it will tell you something, whether or not it fixes your problem. Follow what it says or continue with more troubleshooting if it doesn't fix or detect the problem.

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