> Both OS must be on the same network group.
> Both OS file sharing option must be enabled.
> Both OS Network Discovery option must be enabled.
> Both OS Firewall (internal/external) should match your configuration in the file sharing and Network discovery option.
On small office and home office networks, Windows XP and Windows Vista cooperate about as well as cats and dogs. But you can teach them to get along.
When you combine Windows XP and Windows Vista PCs on the same peer-to-peer network, such as you might have at home or a small office, you may run into all kinds of problems. It may be difficult for your Windows Vista PCs to find your Windows XP PCs, and vice versa.
And the Windows Vista Network Map -- which may be the best networking feature Microsoft has ever introduced into Windows -- won't work properly with XP PCs. They won't show up properly on the network map, if they even show up at all.
Fixing workgroup woes
The first problem is that the default name for your workgroup on the network has been changed from Windows XP to Windows Vista. In Windows XP, the default name for the network is Mshome; in Windows Vista, it is Workgroup.
The fix for this problem is easy; you can change the name of the workgroup on Windows XP to match the name of your Windows Vista network. On Windows XP, right-click My Computer, click the Computer Name tab, then click Change. The screen shown nearby appears. In the Workgroup box, type in the name of your Windows Vista network name. If you're leaving it as the default used in Windows Vista, type in Workgroup. If you're not using the Windows Vista default, change it to whatever name you've given your Windows Vista network and click OK.
After you click OK, you'll see the confirmation dialog shown in the figure below. Click OK again, then restart your PC.
Success -- you've changed your workgroup name
You can, instead, give your Windows XP and Windows Vista machines both new workgroup names, as long as they match. To change the name of your workgroup in Windows Vista, right-click Computer and select Properties. You'll see the name of your PC as well as its workgroup name. Click Change Settings, then from the screen that appears, click Change. In the dialog box, shown in the figure below, type in the new name for your workgroup and click OK.
Changing the name of your workgroup in Windows Vista (Click image to see larger view)
As with Windows XP, you'll get a confirmation that the name has been changed. You'll have to restart your PC for the changes to go into effect.
Patching Windows XP for Vista network compatibility
Making sure that both Windows XP and Windows Vista are on the same workgroup will go part way toward making the PCs get along on your network, but won't go all the way. A bigger problem has to do with the new Windows Vista network map.
The network map is possibly the best addition it comes to networking that Windows Vista has made. To get there, select Control Panel --> Network and Internet --> Network and Sharing Center --> View full map. A screen like one below appears.
The map shows you all the PCs and devices attached to your network -- those in your entire network, not just your workgroup. This map is more than nice to look at; it's extremely useful as well. Hover your mouse over any device, and you'll be shown information about it, such as its name, IP address and MAC address, as shown in the figure below. Click a PC and you'll connect to it.
There's a rub, though. Look at the bottom of the screen in the network map Vista drew of our network. You'll see a number of devices listed. Windows Vista has found them, but doesn't quite know what to make of them. It can't figure out where they fit in on the network. And it won't give you any information about them if you hover your mouse over them.
The problem is that to discover information about devices, Windows Vista uses a new protocol, called Link Layer Topology Discovery. LLTD is built into any Windows Vista PC, which is why they show up properly on the network map. However, LLTD isn't built into Windows XP, which is why they don't show up properly.
If you run Windows XP Professional, open "My Computer" and select Tools and then Folder Options. Under the View tab, go to the advanced setting window. Scroll down until you see the option to "Use Simple File Sharing." Uncheck it, if it is checked, Now, click Apply, then OK, otherwise the change will not occur. Go to your Start menu, select Control Panel. Find the Network and Internet connections button. In the Network Connections panel, right-click your Ethernet card (usually referred to as "Local Area Connection"). Under the General Tab, make sure that "File and Printer Sharing For Microsoft Networks" is clicked.
Now, you’ll go back to the main Control Panel and select Performance and Maintenance, and select System (if you are using Classic View, select System). In the window that opens, select the "Computer Name" tab, and down three-quarters of the way, click on the Change button. From here, make sure that the Workgroup name is the same for all computers. Windows XP Home uses MSHOME, while XP Pro uses WORKGROUP. I’d leave it as WORKGROUP, but you could switch it to your last name or anything else, so long as you use the same workgroup name on all the systems. You will need to reboot the computer now to make the changes.
For Windows XP Home Users: From this point, pick which folder you want to share and right-click on it. From the menu, select Sharing and Security. You’ll get a box that will show the folder sharing options. Click the box that says, "Share this Folder on the Network". For ease of use, also select the box next to "Allow Network Users to Change my Files." Do this to all drives or folders you want to share. From there, Windows XP Home is ready to share files with other computers that are connected to the same network.
For Windows XP Professional Users: From this point, pick which folder you want to share and right-click on it. From the menu, select Sharing and Security. You’ll get a box that will show the folder sharing options. Click on the box that says "Share this folder," the share name will be the folder name itself. On the Permissions button you can allow Read, Change or Full Control. Make sure to click Apply then OK once you have picked which permissions you want for your shared folder.
Admittedly, this is dry and tedious stuff, but it’s worth it in the end.
On the Vista computer, you’re going to click on the Start menu and type "system" in the Search Box. Click on System when it appears in the menu. In the Computer Name Domain and Workgroup Settings, you’ll see the name of the workgroup that Vista has set up already. Change that name to whatever you’ve set on the XP systems. To change it, simply click on Change settings. Vista will pop up the now familiar (or obnoxious) UAC (User Account Control) warning. Select Continue. From here, change the workgroup name to the one you’ve selected. Make sure you’ve picked the Computer Name tab. Click on Change next to the words "To rename this computer or change its domain or workgroup, click Change..." At the bottom of the system properties window, you will find an option called "Member of." Choose Workgroup. The default name should already be WORKGROUP. You can change it to the one you want to use. Click OK. Now, reboot the computer. Do not choose Domain. That is mainly in use in corporate environments or if you are running a Windows server in your house with a domain controller. That, of course, is not a likely scenario for the average home user.
Reboot the Vista machine, then proceed to pick the folders you want to share from Vista.
Go to the Network and Sharing Center (find it by typing "sharing" in the search box on the Start Menu). Turn on Network Discovery and File Sharing. To share from the Vista folder C:\Users\Public, turn on Public Folder Sharing. Turning on Password Protect Sharing can also turn on an increased level of security when you share files. You can also turn on Media Sharing (to share files in Windows Media Player).
To share a folder on Vista, right-click on the folder in question, select Properties followed by clicking on the Sharing tab. Under Advanced Sharing, click on the Advanced Sharing... button, and a new Advanced Sharing window will appear. Put a check mark in the Share this folder box, same as with Windows XP Professional, choose Permissions and select the access permissions for this folder as appropriate. "Read" gives the user ability to open a file but not change it. "Change" gives them the ability to edit it. "Full Control" allows them to do anything to it.
Once Vista is configured, and all of the other computers are on the network, they should be able to see each other. To check on XP, go to "My Network Places" in the Start Menu. From Vista you’ll also be able to see the XP computers in the Network folder. Just select the "Start Menu" button and click on Network. From here, the folders and drives you selected should be visible and accessible.