Windows

Fix: Can’t See Other Computers on Network

Windows enables you to connect to other people’s computers easily just by sharing the same network. Setting up this process is quite easy and you can easily share files across computers connected to the same network. However, the process sometimes simply fails to complete successfully and you are suddenly unable to see or connect to other computers on the same network.

This error is present in all versions of the Windows OS and it can be solved in a number of quite different ways. That is why it’s important that you follow the rest of the article carefully in order to solve the problem.

Solution 1: Restart Your Computer Several Times

Even though this one sounds like the basic IT suggestion, people have solved the problem this way but sometimes took more than one restart. Some of the parts in the chain which runs this process have gone corrupt and restarting the computer fixed this problem.

  1. On your running PC, click on Start >> Power button at the bottom of the menu and choose the Shut down option.

  1. Once your PC has shut down completely, unplug the Ethernet cable from your PC if you are using it to connect to the Internet and let the cable stay unplugged for at least a couple of minutes before plugging it back in. Meanwhile, restart your router and your modem by clicking the Power buttons located on them before you plug the cable back into the computer.
  2. Turn the PC on normally by pressing the power button.

Solution 2: Verify SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support is Installed

In order for the process to succeed, there are several components that absolutely need to be installed properly on your computer. One of these components is definitely SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support which is a built-in component which is turned on by default on some computers and disabled on others. You should definitely check if the process is enabled on your computer by following the instructions below:

  1. On your keyboard, use the Windows Key + R key combination to open the Run dialog box. Also, you can search for the Run box or the Control Panel directly in the Start menu.
  2. Type in Control Panel and click OK in order to open it.

  1. Change the view in Control Panel to Category and click on Uninstall a program under the Programs section.
  2. At the right side of the screen which opens, click on Turn Windows features on or off and locate the SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support entry on the list. If it is set to disabled, make sure you mark the check box next to it. Click OK in order to save the changes.

Solution 3: A Workaround for Windows 10 Users

Since a lot of useful features present in the older versions of Windows have been dropped in some of the latest Windows 10 updates, Windows 10 users will never be able to use this feature the same again, meaning that the browsing functionality of networks cannot be fixed properly. Fortunately, there is a workaround suggested by some users which rely on making one computer on the network the Master Browser which will actually solve the problem.

  1. You can check which computer is the master browser in Command Prompt. Search for “Command Prompt”, right-click on it, and select the “Run as administrator” option. Copy and paste the following command and make sure you click Enter afterwards:

nbtstat -a ComputerName

  1. You should repeat the same process for each computer on the network. The computer which is indeed the master browser will have the __MSBROWSE__ value in the list which appears. In order to set which computer should be the Master Browser, you will need to use the registry editor in order to change this.

Before proceeding with this solution, it’s recommended that you close all of your running programs and it’s advisable to create a backup of your registry just in case something goes terribly wrong while you edit it. Backup your registry by following the instructions in our article.

  1. Open the Registry Editor by typing “regedit” in either the search bar or the Run dialog box. Navigate to the following key in Registry Editor:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Parameters

 

  1. Change the value of MaintainServerList from Auto to Yes by right-clicking on it, choosing the Modify option, and typing Yes in the Value data field.
  2. Locate the IsDomainMaster value and change its value to True in the same manner. If this key is not available in this location, right-click anywhere at the right side of the Registry Editor’s window, select New >> String Value and name it IsDomainMaster. Right-click on it, choose Modify and set its value to True.

  1. Restart your computer and apply the changes. If you don’t want any other computer to take the Master Browser role, you can change the MaintainServerList value to No.

Solution 4: Disable the Internet Protocol Version 6 on Your PC

This Windows network error sometimes occurs if you have enabled IPv6 and you don’t have local gateway which is needed to connect. There are several users who were able to solve the problem this way whereas it didn’t work for others. You safest bet is to try and see if it’s working yourself.

  1. Open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows logo key + R key together. Then type “ncpa.cpl” in it and click OK.

  1. Now that the Internet Connection window is open, double-click on your active Network Adapter.
  2. Then click Properties and locate the Internet Protocol Version 6 entry on the list. Disable the check box next to this entry and click OK. Restart your computer in order to confirm the changes and check to see if the error appears again.

Solution 5: Disable Any VPN Connection You May Have Running

This is a vital step since some users have reported that certain Windows Updates have initialized a VPN connection which prevents homegroup from starting properly. VPN is always a big no if you want to have working local connections. Follow the instructions below in order to turn off Windows VPN:

  1. Open the Settings app by clicking the Start menu button and clicking the gear icon at the lower left part of the Start menu.
  2. Click on the Network & Internet section in the Settings window and switch to the VPN section.

  1. Locate the VPN connection you have running, click on it, and click on the Remove button. Accept any dialog options Windows may throw at you and restart your computer in order to apply the changes. Check to see if you are now able to see and connect to other computers in the network.

Solution 6: Restart a Certain Service

There is a service called Function Discovery Provider Host which is vital to this process and come users have reported that tweaking this service has helped them connect to the homegroup again and see other computers on the network.

  1. If you are using a version of Windows older than Windows 10, the easiest way for you to access the services running on your PC is clicking on the Start button and navigating to the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “services.msc” in the dialog box and wait for the list of services to open.

  1. If you are using Windows 10, you can also access Services by using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc key combination in order to bring up Task Manager.
  2. Navigate to the Services tab in Task Manager and click on Open Services at the bottom of its windows, next to the gears icon.

After you have successfully open Services, follow the instructions below.

  1. Locate the Function Discovery Provider Host service by clicking on the Name column in order to sort the services in an alphabetical order.
  2. Right-click on the service and click on Properties.

  1. Navigate to the Startup type and set it to Automatic but make sure it’s service status is Running or Started.
  2. If the status says Stopped you will have to click on the Start button located in the Properties window before proceeding.
  3. Next, click on the recovery tab, locate the First failure option and choose Restart the Service. This option makes sure that the service will restart automatically if it fails. Do the same for Second Failure and Subsequent failures.

The service should start now and you won’t have any problems dealing with it in the future. However, you may receive the following error message when you click on Start:

“Windows could not start the Function Discovery Provider Host service on Local Computer. Error 1079: The account specified for this service differs from the account specified for other services running in the same process.”

If this occurs, follow the instructions below to fix it.

  1. Follow the steps 1-4 from the instructions below in order to open service’s properties.
  2. Navigate to the Log On tab and click on the Browser… button.

  1. Under the “Enter the object name to select” box, type in your computer’s name and click on Check Names and wait for the name to become authenticated.
  2. Click OK when you are done and type in the administrator password in the Password box when you are prompted with it.
  3. Click OK and close this window.
  4. Navigate back to Function Discovery Provider Host properties and click Start.
  5. Close everything and check to see if you are able to establish proper connection to the Internet.

Solution 7: Network Reset

This simple method worked for few users. This simply resets your network settings and you may need to tweak other things you have changed in the meantime. Follow the instructions below:

  1. Open the Settings app by clicking the Start menu button and clicking the gear icon at the lower left part of the Start menu.
  2. Click on the Network & Internet section in the Settings window and switch to the Status section.

  1. At the bottom of the page at the right side, you should see a Network Reset button. Click on it and accept any dialogues that appear. Restart your computer and check to see if the problem has been resolved.
  2. Open the File explorer and navigate to network. When the alert appears, click the button to enable Network Discovery.

Solution 8: Reinstall Drivers and Command Prompt Tweaks

There are quite a few other things you can try to solve your problem. Reinstalling the drivers related to networking should solve the problem along with certain Command Prompt tweaks which are quite easy to run and to maintain.

  1. Type “Device Manager” into the search field to open the device manager console.

  1. Expand the “Network Adapters” field. This will list all network adapters that the machine has installed. Right click on the adapter you want to uninstall and select “Uninstall”. This will remove the adapter from the list and uninstall the device.
  2. Click “OK” when prompted to uninstall the device. This will remove the adapter from the list and uninstall the driver. Make sure you repeat the process for all of the network drivers you find. They should all be listed under the Network Adapters section.
  3. Search for “Command Prompt”, right-click on it, and select the “Run as administrator” option. Copy and paste the following commands and make sure you click Enter after each one:

ipconfig /flushdns
ipconfig /registerdnsipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
netsh int ip reset
netsh winsock reset

  1. Restart your computer and Windows should reinstall the drivers automatically. Check to see if the problem is gone.

Solution 9: Enable the Guest Account on Your PC

A weird trick which worked for several users who had the guest account on their PC disabled for some reason. Backup your registry by following the instructions in our article.

  1. Open the Registry Editor by typing “regedit” in either the search bar or the Run dialog box. Navigate to the following key in Registry Editor:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters

  1. Change the value of AllowInsecureGuestAuth to 0x1 by right-clicking on it, choosing the Modify option, and typing 0x1 in the Value data field.

Solution 10: Control Panel Tweak

  1. On your keyboard, use the Windows Key + R key combination to open the Run dialog box. Also, you can search for the Run box or the Control Panel directly in the Start menu.
  2. Type in Control Panel and click OK in order to open it.

  1. Change the view in Control Panel to Category and click on View network status and tasks under the Network and Internet section.
  2. Click on Advanced sharing settings and, in your current network profile, look for the Turn on Automatic Setup of Network Connected Devices options and uncheck the box next to it.

  1. Restart your computer and check to see if you are able to see other computers on your network.

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Expert Tip

Fix: Can’t See Other Computers on Network

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