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I seem to run into things from time to time that I want to share with the world, usually things that I had to find out the hard way. Sometimes it will just be something that I had to dig for, and want to make more readily accessible. This page is intended to make life a little easier for other programmers. If it meets your need, then that's what it's here for.

Brand New Windows XP Pro computer won't "join the network" due to permissions issues

The other day, I set up a brand new computer for a customer. Everything was going well. I had run the "Files And Settings Transfer Wizard" to bring in "My Documents" from the old computer, and had set up a program or two. Problem was, when I tried to map the Network drives, the other computers on the network were visible, but the various network shares were not accessible. I tried a number of ways to fix this. I turned off Windows Firewall. I ran various Windows network wizards. I ran the Windows network diagnostics. I restarted the computer. I powered the computer all the way down. I even restarted the network server. I did searches on Google trying to find "Windows XP Pro computer won't join the network". I beat my head against this for about two or three hours.

Now, you have to realize here that I only set up a few new boxes for people each year. I don't do it every day, so some of these issues grow a little dim for me over the time that lapses between incidents. I mean, I specialize in writing custom software, and network setup is not my specialty.

After beating my head against this problem for hours, I finally remembered something that I had found out about in a previous incident a year or more ago. Some versions of Norton Antivirus (Symantec) contain another firewall that fouls things up. Norton Antivirus (Norton Internet Security Suite which came on the computer, actually) had asked me a question about allowing Windows to handle the firewall instead of Norton, to which I had answered "Yes". Even though I gave the answer that seemed like it should have produced the result of Windows firewall being the primary firewall, when I checked the status of the Norton Personal Firewall, lo and behold, the Norton Personal Firewall was turned on!

I turned that thing off, and was able to access the network shares on the network immediately. After establishing what the problem was, I went back into Norton and found an option to configure the firewall to make an exception for computers in the domain on the local network. That way, the firewall still operates, but network traffic between trusted users is allowed. Whew! If anyone else is having problems mapping network drives to network share folders on other computers, or network shares on the main server, watch out for Norton Personal Firewall. It'll bite you.

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