April 06, 2007

Networking with shitty Windows XP Home

I got a couple of cheapie computers the other day. One of them I will give to my mother because she needs one. It was a decent price (although, I found a place that would have given me a better system for the same price! bah >.>) so I decided to keep one as a server. My laptop is a piece of crap and I would prefer if another system handled my various leeching/sharing/etc duties. Anyhow, this was a good thought until I realized just how crappy XP home is for networking. I have tried all day yesterday to make the laptop show up in the workgroup of the other computer. Nothing I could do worked. It wasn't a firewall problem or anything, it's xp's own inherent crappy and secretive schemings that refused to cooperate. I gave up yesterday and decided to sleep on the problem. I got up this morning, had some breakfast, and decided to work on this stuff again.

One of the problems I was having was that I could see the work group in network places but I didn't have permission to actually view what was inside of it. Then it occurred to me, the account I use to log in on is an administrator account BUT... what's up with that administrator account that I see when I log into safe mode? Well, I bet many of you out there can realize what the actual problem was. For one thing, the administrator account you may have has all of the permissions you would normally need but it is not the TRUE administrator account. The true one can ONLY be accessed via safe mode and it is also the ONLY account that will be able to view work groups. If you are thinking that that's a shitty thing to do, you would be right. I find it very irritating and it had crossed my mind to format the laptop and load 2k pro on it or linux XD. I'm sure xp pro doesn't have this little quirk, however.

That little discovery about the real administration account wasn't enough to deter me. Since my attempt to log into the administrator account with the welcome screen disabled (to allow you to type in account names like the classic screen...) failed, I decided to go in under safe mode. I could view the work group and the other computer so I figured everything else would be gravy (and it was!). I got on the other system and I could see the laptop now in the work group so I mapped the various hard drives and some folders on the C drive of the laptop that I wanted to share. I logged into the laptop again normally and, while I could not see the other computer anymore, I still had access to the networked drives from the other computer. Me not having access to the other computer's files from the laptop is really not a problem since anything downloaded via the other computer will go to external drives that are connected to the laptop any way. If your network is set up like mine, with files stored on external drives connected to your primary computer, what I have done will be just fine for you.

I still may format this piece of crap. I haven't decided yet. The only thing that was really holding me back was my passwords that I have saved in Firefox but I see that there is an add-on that will let me export those so now I can only blame it on my laziness.

Posted by Ryo-ohki at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)