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Network

Our XP Home Network


We have 1x XP Home PC and 2x XP Pro PCs. One XP Pro PC is connected to a Cable Modem (Card#1) and Local network (Card#2) providing Internet Access to the two other XP computers via ICP (Windows Internet Connection Sharing). So the PCs are not on a Domain.

While XP is a joy to use, we longed for the days of Win95 where you could setup a simple home network with no guest password prompts and everyone could share root folder and printers with no fuss.

How to start the windows "Group Policy Editor"
  • From Start-menu > "Run" and enter: GPEDIT.MSC

Making it work

1. XP Pro PCs - Enable Classic Networkin

Open the Local Policy Editor and change "Network Access: Sharing and security model for local accounts" from "Guest Only" to "Classic".
  • Policy Editor: Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Local Security Policy
  • Policy: Local Policies > Security Options > Network Access: Sharing and security model for local accounts
Note: Windows XP Home does not have a Policy Editor. This is probably always set to Classic on XP Home.


2. Disable Simple File Sharing on all PCs

Disabled Simple File Sharing on all PCs (not available on XP Home). To do this go to:
  • Control Panel > Folder Options > View page > Simple File Sharing (uncheck this option)
Note: Windows XP Home does not have this option. Simple file sharing is always enabled.


3. Main XP Pro PC & Other PC - Enabled Logon with Blank Password

(I can't remember if this step was really necessary in the end)

If you try to log onto Windows XP Professional with classic file sharing (Simple File Sharing disabled), without a password, you normally get an unknown error 31. To enable logon with no password find the following policy and Disable it.

  • Policy Editor: Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Local Security Policy
  • Policy: Local Policies > Security Options > Accounts: Limit local account use of blank passwords to console login only, which is enabled by default.

Note: Windows XP Home does not have a Policy Editor.

4. Add Accounts

At this stage PC2 can see my Main PC (yeah!) shared drives. But Main PC cannot see other PC2 drives yet.

What I had to do was Add the same account to the PC2. eg. If I'm logged into my Main PC as Administrator "Robert" then I have to also add an account "Robert" (Administrator & No password) to PC2.
  • Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Managment
  • Computer Managment (local) > System Tools > Local Users and Groups > Users

and add the user as an administrator

Conclusion

What a load of stuffing around. MS got this wrong in my opion. Lets Hope that Longhorn Home Networking is better.


Comment from Paul Nashamkim:

When I switched my home network to XP ages ago, I found that I couldn't share anything (files, printers) until I set the same password to each account on each PC (even though one was set up as Administrator and one as Paul (with administrator rights). I just wrote it off to my own stupidity for not finding some obvious setting, and since it worked fine, I forgot about it.
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