In the past I had a different problem on the same machines with XP/7 failing to connect properly and I was advised to install Windows Resource Kit Tools on the XP machine. Which seemed to do the trick at the time. Now as I said, this was a solution to a slightly different problem, but as a matter of course, to troubleshoot the current problem, I always uninstall RK tools, then turn off file/printer sharing in XP, then unshare all the HDDs I usually share. I then reverse the process. This sometimes fixes it.
I have the same password on all machines. I have guest accounts enabled on all machines. I have File & Printer sharing enabled on all machines. I have password protected sharing switched off on win 7 netbook and it's on home network setting.
Basically no settings have been changed and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't!
I have recently noticed on the XP machine, when I run the Network Identification Wizard in System Properties, it always seems to be stuck on business network, instead of home network which I set it to whenever I have this problem. Is this relevant? Also it may tend to bugger up after I connect my WD Passport HDD... can't say for certain but there may be a pattern. Any connection there possibly?
Please, any up-to-date tips on getting XP, win 7 machines networked reliably would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance.