Windows 7 to Windows XP “Access is denied” home office LAN networking issues

Are you having problems getting your home office LAN, with varying computers between Windows 7 and Windows XP to properly share files?

Here are a few quick tips & tricks to solve your issues (these are at a high level, so if you don’t understand these, ask a friend to assist you). These tips presume you are on a HOME or SMALL OFFICE LAN setup. DO NOT DO THESE if your machines are joined into a Windows domain.

  1. on the Windows 7 machine(s) disable homegroups
  2. on the Windows 7 machine(s), set a workgroup name, like your last name, for example “JOHNSON” (omit the quotes of course)
  3. on the Windows XP machine(s), set the SAME workgroup name as above
  4. Make sure each machine has a friendly computer name with no punctuation. Names like FRANK, workstation1, mypc, are good. Names like Ted’s Computer, My Windows 7 machine, etc. are bad and wont’ work. If necessary, update each computer’s network name to one without any spaces or punctuation like the example just listed. All of these network changes (WORKGROUP name change and computer name change may require reboots to each PC).
  5. on both machines, create a local user(s) with the same username and password. PASSWORD ARE REQUIRED to make this work. Presuming you have one account on the older XP machine that you are currently using, to the USERS area, assign a password, log out and log back into the XP maching using that username and password. On the Windows 7 machine, go to the users area and setup the SAME USER and password.
  6. no other changes including firewall changes should be needed.
  7. if you are the only person (or if there is only one person and one user account) using each computer on the LAN, you can setup “automatic login” on both machines. Google “automatic login” for directions, so that you don’t have to login each time you boot, on each machine.
  8. create a share on each computer. It’s up to you if you want to allow read only or full access to each share. Make sure you “add users” and add all the user(s) that you created above to the permitted user list for the share.

If you’ve done all the above, and have logged out and logged back into the newly password protected accounts, you should be able browse the network, map a network drive, etc.

to do this open up Windows Explorer (the file manager, not Internet Explorer!). Expand out the network, Microsoft Windows network, your network name and you should see your computer names showing up.

Alternatively in the address bar type in

\\mypc1\ and hit enter and see if the SHARES show up. Right click on a share and “MAP NETWORK DRIVE” to allow a drive letter to show up on your Windows Explorer.

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