Archive for September, 2009

Folder sharing problems on the Eee PC

September 30, 2009

In my previous blog entry on Sharing Folders with Windows XP Computers, I talk about how easy it is to share files over the network between Windows computers and an Eee PC.  Yet, we all know that few things are as simple as they appear.  Sharing files over the network is no exception.  I would like to share some solutions to problems I have encountered while using the File Manager program on my Eee PC 900 running Xandros Linux.

  • The workgroup name does not appear when I double-click on the Windows Network icon.

Highlight the Windows Networkicon and then refresh the view by clicking the refresh icon, pressing F5 or selecting Refresh from the View menu.

  • When I double-click on the workgroup icon, the only computer I can see on the network is the Eee PC.

Sometimes it will take a couple minutes for all the computers to showup in the workgroup view.  This is not an issue with the Eee PC but simply the way Windows works.  I see the same thing immediately after I reboot one of Windows PCs.

  • I have waited many minutes and one of my Windows PCs still doesn’t show up in the workgroup view.

I found that exiting the File Manager and relaunching generally helps.

  • When I double-click on the icon to one of my Windows computers I get a “No route to host” error.

Most likely, the Windows Firewall is not set to allow file sharing.  Go to the Control Panel and open the Windows Firewall control. Click on the Exceptions tab and check the box for File and Printer Sharing and click OK.

  • When I double-click on the icon to one of my Windows computers, I am asked for a user name and password.

Assuming you have not done anything fancy with shared folder permissions, chances are that you have not enabled folder sharing on the Windows PC.  This is different issue from the one with the Firewall.  Microsoft recommends that file sharing be enabled using the Network Setup Wizard which can be launched from the Control Panel page.

  • When I try to open the Shared Documents folder on my Windows PC from my Eee PC, I am asked for a user name and password.

The Shared Documents folder is intended for sharing documents with other users of the same computer, not other users on the network.  If you want to share a folder that also appears in Shared Documents, go to My Computer and navigate to the folder you want to share.  See these instructions from Microsoft on how to share a folder.

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Linux Eee PC: Sharing Folders with Windows XP Computers

September 30, 2009

For those of you that are regular readers of this blog, you will know that the Denki-Guy owns an Eee PC 900 running Linux.  The decision by Asus to ship the Xandros distribution of Linux on the Eee PC, was a good one in my opinion.  The cool thing about Xandros Linux is that it is designed to work well on networks with Windows PCs.  This is good because I have a couple of other computers on my network that are running Windows XP.

When you own multiple computers, one problem you will always have is moving files from one computer to another.  In the computer days of yore, we would talk of sharing files via “sneaker-net” which involved copying the shared files to a floppy disk and walking it over the other computers.  Needless to say, this method of file sharing is still valid, except for the floppy disk part.  A USB drive is now the preferred transport medium.

Most of us, I dare say, would rather share files over the network.  Fortunately, the Xandros Linux on the Eee PC ships with the component called Samba which enables file and printer sharing between Linux and Windows.  In fact, Xandros Linux comes with Samba pre-installed and configured.  My Eee PC appeared on my Windows Network but it showed up in the work group “WORKGROUP” where as another computer appeared in the work group “DENKIGAI”.  I wanted all of my computers to show up in the same work group, so I changed the work group of the Eee PC.  You can read my previous blog entry for the details.

I will assume that you already know how to share folders on your Windows machine.  If you happen to have more that one Windows computer, you might try to get folder sharing working first in a Windows only environment.  Here is an article from Microsoft that explains file sharing on Windows XP.

When sharing files over the network, the first thing you need to do is locate the computer on the network.  Using the Eee PC you would launch the file manager by choosing the Work tab from Home screen and clicking on File Manager.  Once the Files Manager launches, click on My Eee PC and then double-click on the Windows Network icon.  The name of your workgroup will appear and double-clicking one more time on your workgroup  icon will reveal the names of the machines on your network.

To open a shared folder on another machine, simply double on the icon for the machine you want to access.  You should be able to see all of the shared folders in the next view.  From here you simply navigate to file you are after and work with it.  If you want to create a local copy of the file, the easiest way is to use the File Manager to open a second view of the folders on your Eee PC and drag and drop the file.  A local copy of the file will be made without affecting the original.

To share out a folder on your Eee PC, use the File Manager and navigate to folder you want to share.  Right click on the folder, select Sharing -> Windows Sharing and then check the box to Share this item and its contents. It doesn’t get much simpler.

So, sharing files between your Eee PC and other Windows computers on your network is extremely easy, that is in theory.  In reality, I ran into a number of bumps along the way.  In my next blog entry, I will pass along some solutions to help you over the bumps.

The Denki-Guy

Joining the EEE PC to a Windows Workgroup

September 21, 2009

If your Eee PC is already running Windows, joining a workgroup is a trivial task and so there is no point in writing a blog entry dedicated to it.  I am writing to describe the task of joining a workgroup from a Linux based PC like my EEE PC 900.

The distribution of Linux chosen by ASUS for their Eee PC line is Xandros which was developed with Windows interoperability in mind.  In fact, Xandros has entered into a collaboration agreement with Microsoft to enhance Windows interoperability.  If this is the case, it should be a pice of cake to join a Windows workgroup wouldn’t you think?  Well it is only if your workgroup is called “WORKGROUP”.

 I imagine that some of you are asking why you would need to join a workgroup in the first place.  The reason is to share files, folders or printers over your home network .  In my case, I wanted my Eee PC to use a printer connected to another workstation running Windows XP.  To do so, the Eee PC had to be in the same workgroup as the workstation hosting the printer.  Being in the same workgroup as the other computers on your network is also handy when sharing files

It turns out that the Eee PC defaults to the Workgroup named, “WORKGROUP”.  Other versions of Windows also have the default workgroup name of WORKGROUP but no all.  For example, Windows XP has the default workgroup name of “MSHOME”.  In my case, I had already set the workgroup name on my home network to “DENKIGAI”.  I spent a lot of time looking for a GUI that allowed me to change the Workgroup but I struck out.  In this case, it seems the best way to change the default Windows workgroup name is to edit the associated conf file by hand.

Windows Network support under Linux is provided by a module called SAMBA.  Again, I used xedit to edit the configuration file.  In the terminal window type:  sudo xedit /etc/samba/smb.conf   The smb.conf file will open in a xedit window.  Look for the line that says: workgroup = WORKGROUP and change it to reflect your workgroup name.  In my case I changed this line to workgroup = DENKIGAI.  Click the save button twice to save the changes, exit and reboot.

When your computer comes up the next time, it will appear in the new workgroup.  To explore your Windows network, select the Work tab on the home page (start page if you prefer) and then click on the File Manager icon.  Expand the Windows Networksection and your workgroup name should appear.  Click on your workgroup name to view the computers on your network.  At this point, your network view is equivalent to that of Network Neighborhood in Windows.

All this is pretty cool don’t you think; Sharing printers and files with other Linux and Windows PCs?  The only problem I have noticed is that my Eee PC cannot always find all the workgroup computers.  I haven’t been able to explore the reasons why.  Could it have something to do with packet loss over my wireless network.  I will run some experiments when I have more time. 

The Denki-Guy