Troubleshooting networks: changing node type

Network cable

Last Friday at work I was determined to solve a problem that we’ve had since I arrived in May 2006. It was to do with our network: why could my colleague Steve connect to my PC but I couldn’t connect to his?

Why had it taken us until Friday last to get around to troubleshooting this problem? Because it wasn’t until then (eleven days before the public release of Microsoft Windows Vista) that Steve upgraded from Windows 2000 to XP, and as we share so much data between us it felt quite important to finally nail this problem.

We’d done the usual things:

  • Made sure that printer and file sharing was switched on
  • Checked firewall settings
  • Ensured that we were on the same workgroup

“That’s really odd,” I said. “Why can you see my PC and connect to it but I can’t see or connect to yours on the network?”

And then I remembered that I’d said that very same thing about my newly installed laptop back in the autumn and the problem had been to do with network node types. (Of course!)

Were we using two different (and presumably incompatible) node types? A quick trip to the Command Prompt (Start > Run…, then CMD) and ipconfig /all gave us the answer we needed: yes. Steve’s PC had “Peer to Peer” while mine said “Hybrid”.

Here’s what we did to change Steve’s PC to “Hybrid” which solved the problem:

Windows XP: Changing Network Node Type

If you want to explicitly configure the Node Type:

  1. Run the registry editor and open this key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Netbt\Parameters
  2. Delete the DhcpNodeType value if it’s present.
  3. If the NodeType value isn’t present, create it using type: DWORD.
  4. Set NodeType to 1 (Broadcast), 4 (Mixed), or 8 (Hybrid).

For details, see this Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

A quick reboot (or simply disable the “Local Area Connection” in Control Panel > Network Connections, and then re-enable it) and all was fixed.

(This post is as much for my own reference in the future as to help others.)

Update (Windows 7)

Wednesday 28 October 2009

This has just solved an issue I had with Windows 7 not showing my XP machine in its network folder.

RSS icon for Windows

RSS logo

If you’ve been pottering around blogs and news websites over the last couple of years you will no doubt have come across the abbreviation ‘RSS’. RSS stands for any one of the following, depending on which technology you are using:

  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)
  • Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91, RSS 1.0)
  • RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0)

What is RSS?

Essentially, it’s a way to publishing frequently updated content, such as news, podcasts or blogs (like this one), in such a way that the content is pushed out to applications (called ‘feed readers’) so that a user can automatically access the content of his or her favourite sites without having to manually visit each site in turn.

Think of it in terms of e-mail. With e-mail you don’t go round each of your friends in turn and ask “Do you have any mail for me?” Your e-mail program simply logs into your mailbox and downloads all your latest messages. So it is with your RSS program, but instead of one mailbox it quizes all the news feeds to which you’ve subscribed and downloads all the latest content.

(Read more about RSS on Wikipedia.)

Standard RSS Feed icon

A while back a standard feed icon was designed and adopted by the Web community. It looks like this:

small RSS feed icon

You can find out more about it and download the image in a variety of formats, sizes and colours from www.feedicons.com. But one format that you won’t be able to download from there is the Windows .ico format.

I use the excellent FeedDemon RSS reader software, which like all Windows software has its own unique application icon. But I wanted to use the standard RSS feed icon for it on my Quick Launch bar, so I created my own Windows icon file offering the icon in a variety of sizes (16×16, 24×24, 32×32 and 48×48) and colour depths (256 colours, True Colour and Windows XP format).

Download

Please feel free to download it, use it, adapt it for your own use.

small RSS feed icon Download RSS Feed icon (Icon, 40 KB)

License

This icon is intended for personal use, and should be used according to the Mozilla Feed Icon Guidelines.