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MacBook Pro won't connect to one PC

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I'm at a loss. I have a Windows network (4 PC's plus 3 Macs). My Windows PCs all see each other and the Macs and successfully connect. One of my MBP (13") sees all Windows PCs and Macs. The other MBP (17") sees all but ONE of the Windows PCs (and the one it won't connect to is the only one that is critical -- of course).

I get the error "Connection Failed: The server "name" may not exist or it is unavailable..." I have tried everything I've found on the 'net as far as troubleshooting. All the settings on the Windows PC are good (no Firewall) and, as I said, everything else on the network can connect to it. I've tried deleting all the plist files related to the Airport, nothing. I even tried directly connecting via Ethernet (that made things worse -- I couldn't connect with ANY of the computers).

I am resorting to sneakernet to copy files between these two computers and I'm losing it.

Any help?

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Matthew C. Miller

Matthew C. Miller


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Jmflint, I'm doing a bit of research before posting my answer. Just wanted you to know someone is working on it. More later today.
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Matthew C. Miller

Matthew C. Miller


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If I've understood your problem correctly
  • you have 4 Windows PCs and 3 Macs on the same wireless network
  • the PCs all see each other and you can share files between them
  • two of the Macs can see the PCs and read the file shares
  • one of the Macs, the 17inch one, can see 3 of the 4 Windows PCs, but not the last one, which is the most critical one.
  • the 17inch Mac can read & write files to the other 3 PCs and with the other 2 Macs
  • the 17inch Mac can get to the internet/web without a problem
If any of that is incorrectly summarized, please let me know. If you aren't 100% sure of any of these items, please double-check and post your results, they could help us pinpoint where the problem lies.

Question: can you get files on and off that Mac from the PC? If so, that may be a way around the issue.

Now, some things I would check or try, to help troubleshoot this issue:
  • Verify that the PC with the critical files is using the same Workgroup name as the other 3 PCs.
    • For Windows XP: Start -> My Computer (right-click and choose Properties)
    • Switch to the Computer Name tab
    • Check the name of the Workgroup listed.
    • If it's not the same as the other 3 PCs, change it to match (click the Change button and follow the prompts).
  • See if you can ping the PC from the 17-inch Mac
    • On the PC, find out the IP address it's using
      • Right-click My Network Places on the desktop and choose Properties
      • Right-click your wireless adapter and choose Status
      • Switch to the Support tab
      • Look for the item named "IP Address"
    • On the Mac: Open the Applications Folder -> Utilities -> Terminal
    • Type in
      ping -c 2 IP_Address_of_PC
      and hit Enter.
    • You should see something like this, if all is well. If not, please post with your results.
      $ ping -c 2
      PING ( 56 data bytes
      64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=64 time=4.623 ms
      64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=2.587 ms
      --- ping statistics ---
      2 packets transmitted, 2 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
      round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 2.587/3.605/4.623/1.018 ms
  • Try to view the share manually from the Mac
    • On the Go menu, choose Connect to server...
    • Click the Browse button
    • Try to find the PC with the critical files in the list.
    • If it's listed, double-click it, to see what's available on the PC.
    • Note any message in the dark gray, above the list section of the window.
  • Please post back here with your results. That should tell us at which level the connectivity issue lies.

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First, let me apologize for not posting right away -- frankly, I forgot to come back and look at the topic. I ended up doing an end-run with this laptop. I copied the files to an external hard drive that was shared on one of the other Windows PCs, then I would run the program that needed to access that file by pointing it to the external hard drive. Actually worked out well, with only a modicum of work.

Secondly, THANK YOU for this incredibly thorough troubleshooting guide. No one else had taken the time to put something like this together for me, and I so appreciate it (more than I can convey).

And, finally, before I was even able to go through the steps you had listed, today the connection mysteriously started to work. I'm not kidding. I finished reading your post, went back to my office to log the answers to the first set of questions, and when I attempted to connect from MBP17 to Windows #4 (as we are naming them), it connected. Totally. Like I was able to copy a file without a problem.

I swear to you, I have done absolutely NOTHING to the network or computers!!

Anyway.... sorry for the long-windedness. I am going to "Evernote" this post, so that if the computer ghosts decide to mess with me again, I'll have something to throw at them.

Thank you so much!
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