Cannot See Other Computers on Network in My Network Places?

When you go to My Network Places on XP, is it blank or empty? Even if you are connected to the network, you may still not be able to see other computers on the same network for several reasons.

Firstly, you need to determine what kind of network you are on, i.e. a workgroup or a domain. If you are in a domain and you cannot see any other computer in My Network Places, it could be because DNS is not setup properly. You can read my previous post on how to setup DNS on Windows Server 2003 and how to troubleshoot problems with DNS.

In this article, I will walk through several settings and configurations you can check that would commonly cause My Network Places to be empty.

File and Printer Sharing is turned off

If File and Printer Sharing is not turned on, you will never see another computer across the network. This protocol must be installed in order to be able browse for it from My Network Places.

To enable File and Printer Sharing, go to the Control Panel, then Network Connections, right-click on Local Area Connection, and choose Properties.

my network places empty

On the General tab, make sure the following protocols are installed and checked:

  • Client for Microsoft Networks
  • File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks
  • Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

internet protocol

If it’s not there, click the Install button and add the above protocols to the list and restart your computer. If these are installed correctly, then move on to the next check.

All computers are in the same workgroup

The second thing that needs to happen in order for another computer on the network to show up in your My Network Places list is that all the computers have to be in the same workgroup or domain.

You can check this by right-clicking on My Computer, choosing Properties, and clicking on the Computer Name tab.

computer name tab

Next to Workgroup, you will see the workgroup name. Each computer on the network has to have exactly the same workgroup name in order to be able to see each other. You can click Change to change the name of the workgroup.

Allow File and Printer Sharing in Windows/3rd party Firewall

Once you have enabled File and Printer Sharing, you still may not be able to see other computers on the network if you have the Windows XP Firewall enabled.

By default, Windows does not allow the File and Printer Sharing service access through the firewall, so you have to manually allow access. You can do this by going to Control Panel, clicking on Windows Firewall and then clicking on the Exceptions tab.

file and printer sharing

Make sure to CHECK the box next to File and Printer Sharing. Now the service will be allowed access through the firewall and you will be able to see if in My Network Places.

Note that if you have other firewall or Internet security software installed, it can also prevent Windows Networking features to function properly. One prime example of this is Norton Internet Security. You have to tell it which subnet to allow through the firewall or you have to uninstall it.

Open ports on your router

Another source of headaches could be the firewall on your router. If you have a newer router, some of them automatically enable their own firewalls! So you have to log into your router and open the ports manually.

The File and Printer Sharing port numbers range between 135 and 139, so if you open those up on your router, it should be enough to see the other computers on the network. You can also try disabling the firewall to test whether it’s the router that is causing the problem.

Ping other computers on the network

One other simple thing to do is to check whether you can even ping the other computers on the network. If you can’t ping them, then that means that there is something wrong with the network connection itself.

You can ping another computer by going to Start, clicking on Run, and typing in CMD. In the command prompt, type in ping x.x.x.x or ping computername.

ping computer

Switch between Static and DHCP IP address

Another way to try and solve this issue is to switch the computer over to a static IP address and then switch it back to DHCP. When you switch like that, the TCP/IP configuration is reset and any corrupted IP settings like the Subnet mask, etc are fixed.

You can do this by right-clicking on Local Area Connection, choosing Properties, and then selecting the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) entry and choosing Properties.

tcp ip protocol

Then click Use the following IP address and type in an IP address that would work on your current network. Also choose Use the following DNS server addresses and type in the IP address of your router.

Click OK and then OK again. After that, go back to that screen and choose Obtain and IP Address automatically for both and click OK.

browse computers on network

This should hopefully fix any problems you are having with not being able to browse computers on your network. If this didn’t fix your problem, post a comment and I’ll try to help! Enjoy!

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  1. catester says:

    This was a great check list. I didn't know about switching between DHCP and static IP until I read this, and that actually helped me fix something. Many thanks.

  2. Disabling the firewall helped me see the other computers. However, having no firewall seems like a pretty bad idea. Is there a more permanent solution to this problem?

  3. Remy says:

    To thebetatfemale:

    If turning off your firewall allows you to see the other computers, what you need to do on your firewall is open the ports that the traffic operates on. i.e., FTP = 21, SMTP = 25, Kerberos = 88… Not too sure what ports you'll need to open to allow network browsing via NetBIOS but a simple google should help out.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=ports+WINS+NETBIOS

    http://www.petri.co.il/what's_port_445_in_w2

    Regards,

    Matt MCP, Net+

  4. [...] click on View workgroup computers to get a list of all the computers in the workgroup. If you can’t see any other computers in My Network Places, read my previous post for [...]

  5. mdrieder says:

    What if the reverse is true? I can see other computers from this computer, and I can "see" this computer in that it shows up in my network, but when I try to access it, it says I might not have permission to use this network resource and that the network path was not found.

  6. PLEHRER says:

    I have followed all instructions in your very clearn note. However, I still can't see other computers on my network from one of three computers. This is a Dell Latitude,

    All computers run XP, with Norton antivirus and Windows firewalls, which I have turned off.

    Other computers can read files from my laptop and write to it; they can read and write files to and from each other; however the laptop cannot see other computers or printers associated with them.

  7. rudrpdls says:

    I recently had a new computer hard drive failure. The computer is running windows XP and worked fine on my network until it crashed. After getting a replacement hard drive and reinstalling windows XP and the drivers, I no longer can get my computer to see the other computers on my home network. I followed your list of instructions, but still no luck. I cannot ping the other computers, but can ping the problem computer. I also am able to access the internet and hook up to the network printer (wireless) through the router. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  8. Rachel says:

    I just got a new laptop. I want to connect to my PC that I have connected to my router. I have a wireless card on both computers. I can't see my PC from my laptop when I pull up my workgroup. If I connect both computers to the router with an ethernet cable I am able to share files and connect to each other.

    Once I remove the ethernet cable and try to connect wirelessly I cannot see both computers. I have a Belkin wireless G router. I tried pinging my PC from my laptop and it says that my request timed out. I connected my PC to my router with the ethernet cable and was able to see my laptop but it said that my accesst was restricsted. Any ideas what I need to do?

  9. Chris Pat says:

    After a virus attack I guess, my firewall was disabled and grayed out that I could not change the settings.My local area network was working perfectly before this attack that i managed to destroy and activated my firewall. But the problem now is that one computer can see and access other computers in my network but these computers can just see it on the LAN but cannot access it .help!

  10. secretarybird says:

    This is the best set of instructions I have seen yet for Windows troubleshooting. Sadly, these instructions did not work.

    I have one computer on my network that is unable to browse any other hosts in the workgroup. My network is a mix of XP, Linux, and 98SE systems, plus a NAS drive.

    The computer that is the problem child here is running XP Pro. She can connect to shares via Start-Run – and manually entering the host name to browse. But when I click on the workgroup in Windows Explorer, there is nothing except an error that says:

    Bushytail is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions.

    No more connections can be made to this computer at this time because there are already as many connections as this computer can accept.

    I've tried everything I can think of to fix this problem short of sacrificing a virgin and other esoteric troubleshooting techniques. I must say, Windows has got to be the most retarded operating system ever excreted by any corporation.

  11. eans says:

    I use windows vista. I want to see the other computers on my network, but they are on a domain and I am in a workgroup, what can i do to see all of them?

  12. Syd36 says:

    Hi Aseem I have 2 pc's running XP SP2 I have done all this step by step however I can not see my own pc (A) in my network places or the other pc (B). I am able to Ping from A to B and B to A but I can still not access either from either pc. B shows up in B's Network Places but A does not show up in either pc can you help?

    I am running the network through a hub. They are both under workgroup called workgroup and IP and DNS are set to auto.

  13. Bracker says:

    Ok, I've been pulling my hair out for the past couple of hours trying to get all 6 computers on my network to show in network places. I triple checked everything. I was able to ping all of the computers. I was able to find them while adding a network place but they still didn't show up in the network places folder. After not finding the solution anywhere google pointed me, I did some plodding through every configuration I could think of and finally solved it. I hope this helps for you as well…

    Start Menu -> Computer -> Tools -> Folder Options -> View Tab -> In the Advanced settings box, under Files and Folders, tick Automatically search for network folders and printers.

    Spread the word =)

  14. Nitin says:

    Hi i tried above tutorial for networking but i can not network my computers. I have three computer and i want to network all three computer together and i have also have a printer that I want to share. thank you.

  15. Manju says:

    I have D-link 300 wireless router, which is connected to two systems without cable….. Today I am not able to ping each computer, but I can see them in work group and access…I tried manually by using the IP address..Please help me to solve this problem..

    Thanks in advance…..

  16. nataraj says:

    I cannot see other computers in the network. I tried your suggestion but still the same problem. I am able to ping other computers, but can't access shares, please help!

    Thanks!

  17. TT says:

    The obtain IP address automatically section worked for me I just deleted the numbers that I had in the ip addresses and it worked for me I had been trying to fix it all day. Thanks alot. I really really appreciated it.

  18. RockCity says:

    My problem is that I can not see my own computer when I goto My Network Places. I tried the tutorial and I am able to see the other computers on my network but one offending computer will not show itself to itself, nor can I see it from any of the other computers. any help would be appreciated.

  19. Boccas says:

    Best success yet in my quest for xp & win7 combo networking is

    astonisher.com/archives/ripvanwinkle3.html

    May not solve all problems but does work well.

  20. rickghouse says:

    What a great tutorial.

    You just solved my problem. I can now see all the computers on my network.

    The problem began when I ran WET (Windows Easy Transfer) on my old XP machine, transferring to my new Windows 7 machine. I soon discovered WET has bugs. It disabled my Contacts folder (Microsoft Office Outlook 2007) as an address folder. The fix was not an easy one.

    Running through your checklist, I discovered "Client for Microsoft Networks" was no longer checked. Apparently this is another change that WET made.

    Fortunately this was a much easier fix than the Outlook disaster.

    Thanks very much!

    Rick.

  21. Jansen says:

    I still can't see other computers on the network. I tried to share a folder from the server and when I viewed the network place, it still wont work. There is nothing but a blank dialog. Why can't I see anything in network places?

  22. chua says:

    Hi I still unable to connect to my network. Please help me by contact by direct email

    Thanks

    chua

  23. petermead@yahoo.com says:

    I have tried everything here and still my network places is empty. I am running xp sp3 on both machines, a laptop and a PC. I can ping the others I am on a dsl router all firewalls turned off.

    Any other suggestions?

  24. SOPHEA says:

    Dear, Sir/Madam

    Could you help me? I have computer network place and have one computer can not connect to other computer and have no show in the network place, when I connect to sophea-pc can not log on.

    Thanks

    Best Regards

    SOPHEA

  25. phil.read says:

    I had a problem whereby my Win2003 SBS server could see all the workstations (up to 40) except one. The workstation could see the server ok, and worked normally, but I could not do remote installs to it (eg Trend CSSA). From this article, I eventually realised that the workstation had no shared resources on it, no printer, no partitions or folders. I shared one partition and suddenly the server could see it and succeeded with the remote installs.

    I conclude that each workstation's shared resources need to be registered locally on all the other PCs on the network, and that the same list is what those PCs then consult in order to access the others. If you have no shared resources, you are invisible to others.

  26. Mujeeb says:

    We are connected in a network have domain and clients environment. We can access all the resources but we can not ping each other computer. Also I try the above steps but fail.

  27. umair says:

    dear sir,

    In LAN environment my computer has access / ping other computer but other computer have no access / ping. also when i restart the computer other computer can ping but when my system starts, the same problem again occured. please help.

    Thanks and Best Regards
    umair

  28. Mominul says:

    I am able to ping other computers, but can’t access shares, please help me!

  29. Vipin says:

    i m using a office network and all pcs are connected in workgroup. On one pc i m getting a problem that I am not able to open any other computers while other network users can open my computer and see data. I can ping other computers but am not able to open shared drives on other computers. Please help.

  30. Ivory says:

    Hi, I've Got an old Dell P4600 server with 2k server installed & computer with XP intalled.

    Just want to share a folder on the server and acces it with the XP computer to store files, for the love of god no matter what I do I can't see any computer from either one….been on this 3 wks now..! fed up. Please can you guide me in the right direction?

  31. Herbie643 says:

    I had a LinkSys router, not wireless. Decided to go wireless. Using Belkin Wireless G router. Internet is fine.

    I have 2 computers, 1 Vista and the other Windows 7. The 7 computer can see Vista fine, all files, printers. When I try to access the 7 computer from the Vista computer I get:

    Network connection cannot be reached, Permission issues as well.

    This all worked fine with LinkSys.

    I turned off the Windows firewall on 7 and no luck. Installed Comodo Firewall, no luck. I have reset the router, no luck. The workgroups are the same. The Map in Network and Sharing shows the 7 computer. A mapped drive also fails. I did as you suggested and changed the IP address in the IP4 properties, no luck.

    I have been at this for hours now with no luck. Hopefully you'll have a simple solution, something I am obviously overlooking.

    Thanks in advance,
    Marshall Neill

  32. Misc. says:

    Thanks, I found what I changed! Sometimes overzealous tweaking and tuning causes trouble. :)

    Most comprehensive checklist I've seen of a few pages.

  33. Dag says:

    Hello,

    I don't know if this site is still active but here goes-

    I'm running xp pro SP3 in a workgroup with 4 computers on a wireless network. I cannot see any computers in My Network Places (including mine which has the direct internet connection). I had this problem a month ago & ended up creating a new workgroup which solved the issues until recently. Prior to the original problem occurring the network was problem free for over 1 year. I followed all of your steps but the problem still exists. I then created another new workgroup but it made no difference. Using the IP addresses & computers names I am able to successfully ping the computers.

    The workgroup name does show up in My Network Places but it takes almost a minute for that to occur. When I click on the workgroup I get the windows msg. that "you might not have permission to use this network resource & The list of servers for this workgroup is not currently available."

    In addition I went into Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Services, & on the right side, Network Access Protection Agent Properties, & set start up type to Automatic, then Started it. No difference.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Rgds

    Bill

  34. Arron401 says:

    Hi there, I recently set up a network bridge to go on xbox live using my laptop instead of forking out for an adaptor. However, since doing so no other computers or routers appear when i go to network sharing centre. Tried everything you mentioned above… dont know what else to try!

    Got another 2 laptops working on the same network which can both find each other/xbox but not mine!

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Arron

  35. KADC says:

    My laptop (WinXP) has suddenly decided to stop seeing other computers (firewalls disabled) in my network. The other computers on my network can still see my laptop and I can access the Internet from my laptop. The second bit of strangeness is the only item appearing in My Network Places is my router which has never appeared there before and, from what I gather, shouldn't be.

    I recently installed Kaspersky Antivirus 2011 on my laptop which caused no end of problems so I uninstalled it. That is the only change to my laptop.

    Protocols, etc. are all fine (as expected since the other computers can access files on the laptop without any problem), so I hope someone here has a suggestion because after spending several hours reading knowledge bases and assorted tech forums I'm at a complete loss as to what the problem may be or how to solve it.

  36. ALLAN REX says:

    I have 2 PC’s running XP SP3. I have done all this step by step; however, I can not see my own PC (A) in my network places or the other PC (B). I am able to Ping from A to B and B to A but I can still not access either from either PC. B shows up in B’s Network Places but A does not show up in either PC. Can you help?

    I am running the network through a Netgear router. They are both under workgroup called workgroup and IP and DNS are set to auto.

  37. Doug says:

    I had a similar problem but nothing on this page worked. However, your suggestion about switching to a static IP then back to DHCP gave me the idea of trying to do an ipconfig /release and /renew and that fixed my issue. Thanks.

  38. sohail says:

    Hi. I installed a wireless router in my office and gave it the following configuration.

    At the inetnet port:

    internet ip: 192.168.0.164(my lan ip sheme)
    default gateway: 192.168.0.1
    dns ip: 192.168.0.100(my domainserver ip)

    At the router:

    router ip: 192.168.50.1
    and dhcp range: 192.168.50.100 to 192.168.50.150

    My internet on the wireless client is working well but the problem is that the domain computers are not accessible in my Network Places. The wireless client pings each and everything.

    Please tell me the reason as soon as possible.

  39. maryo says:

    I've tried all your suggestions and still can't view any other computers in my workgroup. Been working on it for hours.

    Please help!

  40. Curt says:

    I have carefully followed each step in this post, yet I still can not see my main computer from the other two computers on the network.

    My Pentium Dual Core was running very slowly after I changed my anti-virus software from McAfee to Norton. A move dictated by my DSL provider. I like McAfee, but I can no longer install it through my DSL.

    Anyway, I have had three computers networked together for several years. Now, my AMD 64-bit and my laptop can see each other, but, they can not see the Dual Core. I can ping both of these computers from the Dual Core, but I cannot ping the Dual Core from either of the other two computers.

    It is important to me to be able to use this network. The Dual Core hosts three 1TB hard drives and several flash sticks and SD cards. Without this network, I have no access to the extra drives. I don't have the slots for the additional drives.
    I write web pages. I view my work on the Dual Core and edit the page on the AMD. I enjoy this feature. It allows me to see my changes instantly without having to switch pages.

    I have re-installed Windows XP Pro five times of the past week without seeing any changes. At the present time, I have not installed Norton on the Dual Core and I have turned off the firewall, no help there.

  41. zaahied says:

    Hi.

    I followed your tutorial but I still cannot see the other PC. PC1 cant see PC2, but PC2 can see PC1. I cannot access info on PC1 from PC2 though. I can ping, browse & even print from PC1. (printer is attached to PC2 via USB) but I am denied access to the drive data on PC2 even if I map it.

    I’m fresh out of ideas.

    I also reset securities to default using that long command under the c: prompt.

    Any ideas besides a reload would be considered. lol

  42. jayney1961 says:

    Hi I have gone through everything you have sugested to try but I am still unable to see my computer or any other computer in my network places.

    I have been trying now for 2 weeks, so ripping my hair out at this moment.

  43. Ankit says:

    Greetings for the day!!

    We presently have Windows 2008 R2 Domain Environment, And currently we are facing a issue with No. Of Computer visible in My Network Places.

    Whenever a user tries to view a shared folder from a computer by navigating through My Network Places/ Entire Network/ Microsoft Windows Network/ Domain Name the user can only see 13 Computer's instead of the entire list of 300+ computer's that are actually configured as part of domain.

    Request you to please provide support for the same

  44. akiarea says:

    i have 7 machines connected in a switch. all them installed similar. (same os, workgroup etc only difference is some of them is with AVG and some with Norton). but not all machine is shown in the network computers, some are missing. pinging not worked (request time out).

    i am much confused. not getting any link. can you help me on this

  45. JoeCool says:

    Thanks. Me switching off the firewall helped and now I can see my computer on the network. You’re a star. Keep up the good work.

  46. geman says:

    First I don't usually contribute to groups like this out of pure lazyiness. But this stupid problem made me so upset that i had to contribute after figuring out how to get it to work. My situation was I trying to fix two xp computers so they could see eachother on a home network. Basically tried everything and was about to throw them out the window when i figured it couldn't hurt anything by intalling netbios. When into the network connections properties for the connected network card, clicked install, protocalls, netbios connection something bla bla. Did it on both of the computers and walla. Popped up, now i can connect to both of them just fine. Hope that helps someone out there. XP blows.

  47. annpilot says:

    I have a network in xp with 14 computers. All was well until one day the workgroup split in two. Ten computers can see each other and four can see each other but the two groups cannot see each other. I don't know how this happened. I checked everything I could think of. The wiring, the workgroup name, the computer names, etc.

  48. yethu says:

    I have four computers in my house. All of them are connect in one network. But other three computers do not appear in my workgroup, in network connection even though all of them can still be accessed through remote desktop. When i want to access files and folders in other three computers, i can't cos other computers do not appear in my workgroup. pls help

  49. t34r says:

    After adjusting all the recommended settings for file sharing.

    Have you tried typing the address of the other PC in Windows Explorer?

    Something like this:

    In Windows 7 (to access XP)

    Open Windows Explorer (My Computer or similar)

    In the address bar type:

    COMPUTERNAMEDocuments

    In XP (to access Win7)

    Open Windows Explorer

    In the address bar type:

    COMPUTERNAMEUsers

    If this works you may need to restart XP, Windows 7 should be ok

  50. Programmer and IT gu says:

    This article has an error. In windows XP ping may not enabled by default. You need to enable pinging in your firewall first. This is done as follows: Start->Control Panel->Firewall->Advanced Tab->ICMP->Click Settings. In ICMP Settings enable "Allow incoming echo request". Otherwise you can ping the other computer, but it will never show the return message.

  51. md azaj ahmed says:

    we have a 40 system network, five of them are windows server 2003 sp2, and we are using public IP on these five systems. one of the five cannot access or ping any of the other four, but we can access other systems from this system. I have checked firewall settings and some services, but problem still same. So please help me!

  52. mumford68 says:

    I'm afraid I am having the same issue. Lots of Google searching and reading.
    The difference is I am running through a cable modem(gateway?) and am running through WinXp Home.
    Pinging to the router (192.x.x.x) is very quick from both computers.
    The wireless computer (desktop) is using a USB device while the primary PC is connected into the router.

    I hope you have had some luck since your post.

    I really appreciate someone taking the time to put in a list of possible issues and how to implement solutions.

  53. mumford68 says:

    I simply wanted to mention that after trying a number of things including turning off the firewall on both computers (worked on 1 attempt) I was not able to transfer files either way nor connect to from either computer on a cable router->wireless winxp home network. Finally feeling like nothing else was going to work I completely reset the firewall on both computers and, at least at the moment, they can see each other and transfer files between.

    I had read a little about static and dhcp and switching between and simply wanted to mention that due to IP’s changing in some cases that may cause a connection problem if left as a static ip (not in all circumstances).

    Thank you to the author of this article/web page and to everyone that has added content to it. It is always helpful to see what people try and what works for people in various circumstances.

  54. rahul says:

    hi i am not able to ping my switch from my network and it is live but not getting ping is there and configuration to be done in switch , i have already checked snmp in switch its there
    can some one help me in this

  55. M.H.Rashid says:

    on clicking "view workgroup computer" ,shows blank. Not show workgroup computers.

    ping other computers ok
    file&printer sharing on.
    windows firewall off.

  56. maiya says:

    I cannot see network connections in my computer! Please help!

  57. Calder Munroe says:

    There is a Microsoft fix it tool to fix this issue

    Go to this website to run it.
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/903267/en-us

  58. Rentia says:

    I work on a Network – sometimes the computer shows the other computers and sometimes not. This changes by itself, during the day without me actually changing any settings. How can I fix the Network so that it always shows the other computers?

  59. Maria says:

    Went over your list! I can see all computers in the network from workstations but can not access server! (Only 3 computers on the network) On the server, I cannot see the other 2 computers! Have checked all cables, workgroups, etc and am wondering if is possible that the network card on server went bad since everything worked fine last week?! Thanks!

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