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I have a couple of Windows XP machines - they're on the same Workgroup, and I'm logged into an account with the same name and password on each. I have a drive on one machine shared as full-control to everyone. Yet when I view that drive from the other machine only some of the files are visible when I do a "DIR" in a command shell. And further, some more, though not all, are visible when I use a custom file copying tool. What's going on?

OK, I'll admit it. That was me talking to myself. Again.

As you might guess, I have several computers on my home network, and have had this problem of files not being visible for some time. I finally got tired of working around it and set out to find an answer.

First, major thanks go out to the folks out at CastleCops. They're another good resource for on-line technical advice and answers. After a lot of Googling, I came across this thread on their site: Cannot/ Unable to view folders/files XP File Sharing. Buried in there was the answer.

As it turns out, a Windows XP patch issued by Microsoft earlier this year, Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-011, is apparently causing this exact behavior. I've not found confirmation of this on any Microsoft site, only in a couple of on-line forums.

The cause isn't enough, though. What's the solution?

"...there is a little bit of black magic that may do as a workaround..."

There are two solutions: you may be able to uninstall the referenced patch. This will not work for everyone, because in some cases the patch is in fact part of SP2, and cannot be uninstalled. And if you do uninstall it, you'll remain vulnerable for the other issues that the patch was designed to fix.

However there is a little bit of black magic that may do as a workaround.

Determine the IP address of the host computer which is attempting to share out files. One way is to run a command shell, type "ping computername", where computername is the name of that computer.

Now on the client computer that you using to view those files remotely, click on Start, Run, and enter \\ followed by the IP address you just got. For example I might enter in \\192.168.1.102. Now press OK.

This will open up Windows Explorer with a view on that remote computer. And, as a side effect, you should now be able to see everything that you expect.

You may need to repeat this for each client attempting to access that host.

The CastleCops thread also has some ideas on making this automatic, but in my case it's easy enough that I'll simply do it manually, as needed.

Article C2437 - October 16, 2005 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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2 Comments
Rockmeister
April 8, 2007 7:22 PM

I ran into this exact problem this week. When looking at a shared drive, it would only show files with extentions (filename.ext), and showed NO directories. The fix was to Map the drive as a Network drive & that resolved it! Highlight the drive in Explorer, then select Tools/MapNetworkDrive. Map the drive and reference the mapped drive in any look-ups. Worked for me! :)

Tom Bennett
October 22, 2007 12:31 PM

Hi, This is a problem I am having but I am running osx 10.4 as the client and xp hosting, would you have an idea how to achieve this workaround? I have searched and searched but can't find the answer.

Regards,
Tom Bennett

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