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Friday, January 01, 2010

Fixed! Can't Ping Vista / Windows 7 Machine by IP Address or Name

Having problems pinging a Microsoft Windows Vista Machine (or Windows 7) from another computer whether it is Windows XP, Windows 2008 Server, or Mac OS X? This is apparently a fairly common issues when working with Windows Vista or Windows 7 and frankly there is not a lot of good information out there about the problem.

The reason I know this is that I spent about two hours trying to solve this problem myself recently when I transferred my Windows Vista Ultimate machine to a VMWare image (post is pending on the experience) where at some point during the process my Windows Vista system become unpingable by any of the machines on my home network. By not pingable, the Vista installation COULD ping itself, could ping other machines, and could even initiate connections like RDP (Remote Desktop) and file sharing to other machines.

The problem? Other machines could not connect back. In fact, directly, I could not ping the microsoft windows vista machine by either IP address, netbios name, or dns name.

You might instantly think in that case that well, you must have a firewall or possible even Windows Firewall running on that PC and that's the computer. If only it was so simple. In fact, in this case the Windows Firewall service was completely turned off, disabled at startup and not even running. Furthermore, the machine had been working flawlessly before I had to do some tweaks to make it ready for imaging. What made it more frustrating was undoing those tweaks did not solve the problem -- which meant I needed to find a different root cause.

After scouring the Internet for help in this area; I must have hit visited well over a hundred web pages -- each of which only had pieces of information, linked to another site and in the end was somewhat unfruitful. Only the combination of these sites with bits and pieces of information led me to find a slightly different tweak on the situation that indeed fixed my issue.

This post will take you through all of the various things I looked at, learned, and eventually used to fix my problem. If you're experiencing the issue where you cannot ping Windows Vista or Windows 7 by name or ip address from another machine, I hope somewhere here you can find a piece of info that will help you out.

Best of luck! As you might guess, either a single one of these items, or perhaps all of them may be the root cause of what you're experiencing in not being able to ping.

The first place we want to start with your network connections dialog box; and specifically the network and sharing center.

Some of the key things to look at here are to make sure (assuming you are) that you are set to a private network and you have full connectivity.  Then, from there the Network Discovery, File sharing, and Printer sharing at a minimum should be turned on.  Both the Public folder sharing and the Media sharing items are optional for the problem we are trying to solve here where you cannot ping Vista machine by ip address or by name.

Some of the key things to look at here are to make sure (assuming you are) that you are set to a private network and you have full connectivity. Then, from there the Network Discovery, File sharing, and Printer sharing at a minimum should be turned on. Both the Public folder sharing and the Media sharing items are optional for the problem we are trying to solve here where you cannot ping Vista machine by ip address or by name.

If you need to make changes to mimic this configuration, go ahead and make them, reboot and test. If you still cannot ping the Windows 7 machine by IP or by name (Vista as well), the let's move to the next step.

The next place to look once you are buttoned up on the services you are running is the actual properties of the network connections that you have. The first note here is that if you have multiple networks or multiple cards; I would recommend disabling the ones not on the network IP address that you are troubleshooting to eliminate sources of possible secondary issues.

Here is how the properties on my network card looked after the machines was again pingable by name and IP again.

The problem?  Other machines could not connect back.  In fact, directly, I could not ping the microsoft windows vista machine by either IP address, netbios name, or dns name.
Here's the rationale:

1. Client for Microsoft Networks is an absolute must in order to be able to share files and printers between various machines in basic Windows networking. Make sure that's checked.

2. The Virtual Machine Network Services if not installed properly can be a source of networking issues. While this was not my issue in the end, it was best to eliminate it early on as one of the variables in the ping saga.

3. QoS Packet Scheduler. While not leveraged in my installation no information pointed to is a potential source, so I left it checked.

4. File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks. A must if you want to be able to share files between machines and either share a printer or access a shared printer on another machine.

5. Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) as know just as IPv6. This protocol has had some strange behaviors with other machines and some network devices. If you are not explicitly using IPv6, best to disable it, especially in a mixed network as a troubleshooting step. There are a number of documented cases where simply disabling this driver solved the issue.

6. Link-Layer Topology Discovery Mapper I/O Driver. Some posts point to this as well as the next protocol being necessary for file sharing and more. In my case, I disabled it as a way to remove complexity. If yours is disabled by default, I would enable it as a test.

7. Link-Layer Topology Discovery Responder. Same case as with 6, recommendation is the same.

As it actually turns out, while several of those items solved MOST of the problems that people had with this issue...it did not solve mine. Only after reading a few articles did I turn my focus to the Windows Firewall.

The first thing, if you are running the Windows Firewall; I recommend turning it off just to test. If that fixes the pinging problem, then you may need to make a new rule for your firewall to enable ping and ICMP requests. There are a number of good guides out there; so I am not going to cover that.

However, if you are still having issues...time to turn to the Windows Firewall.

Now first my point of view with Windows Firewall: I hate it.

I hate the fact that after random Microsoft Updates, it gets reenabled without my permission and creates all kinds of problems. I hate the performance premium it puts on your system. And in the end, I don't need it on an internal network, since I have a firewall in front of it.

As you might imagine, I went pretty far to make sure the Windows Firewall Service did not start up or run. Inside of Computer Management and the Services area, I disabled the service by changing the startup mode to disabled and I even put in a fake password into the logon tab so it could not start up.

I decided to try and turn back on the service. Except, I first needed to re-enable the service. I clicked first went to the service dialog for the Windows Firewall Properties, hit the logon tab and selected the local system account, selected ok and then tried to start up the service.

I had a problem, instead I was greeted with the error:

Windows could not start the Windows Firewall service on Local Computer. Error 1079: The account specified on this service is different from the account specified for other services running in the same process.


This meant that the service could not run under the account "Local System" and after searching I found it should instead run as "LOCAL SERVICE" -- my first thought was that I did not have the password for LOCAL SERVICE. No fear, all you need to do is select "This account", enter LOCAL SERVICE and in the Password and Confirm Password boxes just enter the password as the user you are logged into. Click ok, and you will see the service getting a dialog back that a right has been granted the right to log on as a service.

This did not fix my ping problem, but the next step did.  I then went to my Windows Control Panel and selected the Windows Firewall option.  When that dialog came up, I selected the text on the upper left to Turn Windows Firewall On or Off; the Windows Firewall was turned on, so I selected off and clicked ok.
Then it should start up successfully, as mine did.

This did not fix my ping problem, but the next step did. I then went to my Windows Control Panel and selected the Windows Firewall option. When that dialog came up, I selected the text on the upper left to "Turn Windows Firewall On or Off"; the Windows Firewall was turned on, so I selected off and clicked ok.

And guess what?  Immediately from my Windows 2008 Server, and Apple Mac OS X (Snow Leopard) installation, Windows Vista / Windows 7 was again pingable.

And guess what? Immediately from my Windows 2008 Server, and Apple Mac OS X (Snow Leopard) installation, Windows Vista / Windows 7 was again pingable.

What I still cannot explain is how it all of sudden stopped working.  It could have been a Windows Update or possibly Vista Service Pack 2 that caused the issue to appear, but I really cannot say.  I'm just glad it is working again, and hopefully with luck this post will help a few of you out with the issue.

At this point, despite my hatred for the Windows Firewall service -- I was happy to have the service startup and be turned off, just so I could access the machine again. Once the ping problem was solved, Remote Desktop, File Sharing, and Printer sharing all started working again.

What I still cannot explain is how it all of sudden stopped working. It could have been a Windows Update or possibly Vista Service Pack 2 that caused the issue to appear, but I really cannot say. I'm just glad it is working again, and hopefully with luck this post will help a few of you out with the issue.

If so, I'd appreciate a tweet on twitter, link on Facebook, or even a comment below to let me know.

14 comments:

pan said...

Actually that's all wrong. Sorry.

This can be easily accomplished in Windows 7 by the following:

Control Panel > Windows Firewall > Advanced settings > Inbound Rules and enable File and Printer Sharing (Echo Request - ICMPv4-In) in the profile.

You can even allow all incoming connections in one of the three profiles. Or stop the firewall for the profile all together.

If you turn off Windows Firewall it still wont work, probably because it doesn't flush the rules...

Just more new stuff to get used to..im sure it'll still be flawed and have massive overhead like you said though :)

Im a MS skeptic but it actually doesn't seem too bad this time. SEVENTH TIMES THE CHARM. heh.

Anonymous said...

Good write-up!

Anonymous said...

Definitely going to try that network configuration. We have a few people piloting 7 and it's a headache not being able to remote in at all. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I had a similar problem - from my Windows 7 box could ping my Vista box but could not ping the Windows 7 box from Vista.

I did all the above with no success - then when I looked closer I realized that I had two IP addresses for my Windows 7 machine - one for the wireless and one for wired. I had turned off the wireless but that IP was still assigned to the computer name.

I could ping the Windows 7 box using the IP address (of the LAN adapter).

Releasing and renewing the DHCP leases fixed the problem.

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem at our workplace (Windows Vista cannot ping Windows 7, as well as Vista cannot access Windows 7's shared files/folders, but Windows 7 can access Vista's shared files/folders).

Windows Firewall is turned off by default on all computers. Instead, we have Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 with a firewall. I found out that this was the culprit. In the Kaspersky firewall settings of Windows 7, the LAN connection (on the Networks tab) was set to the Public network status. Changed it to Local network and this fixed the communication problem of Vista to Windows 7.

Anonymous said...

The very first option worked for me in a single shot..cool. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Doh! Kaspersky!

Andrew said...

Just thought I would add my experience if you get to this point and are still despairing.

My problem was I couldn't ping or access file shares on my Windows 7 box from two Windows XP boxes. This problem seemed to start after I had changed my anti-virus protection on my Windows 7 box from "McAfee Total Protection" (full virus protection & firewall) to "BitDefender Anti-Virus Pro 2011" (virus protection only).

I uninstalled McAfee in the specified manner (BitDefender told me to do this and wouldn't install until I did). I even deleted the few McAfee files that had been left behind. After installing BitDefender I soon discovered that I could no longer access my file shares on the Windows 7 box. Further diagnosis showed I couldn't even ping the box now. My immediate thought was that BitDefender had re-enabled Windows Firewall it was blocking pings (ICMP echo requests) and file & print sharing. I checked this and it looked OK. I then checked the Advanced Sharing Options for the usual suspects. All OK here. After much Googling, reboots, disabling of firewalls, uninstalling and reinstalling of BitDefender and checking of the registry I gave up and thought I was beat and was convinced the evil empire (Microsoft) had delivered me an evil update that had screwed my network/firewall settings or implemented some perverse security patch.

Two weeks passed and I was up for another go at this problem but this time I decided to make use of the System Restore facility in Windows 7. I wound the system back to a restore point about a month old but to no avail. I would it back a few more weeks and voila my ping started responding and my file shares came back. At this resore point the system still thought McAfee was installed (even though the binaries were no longer on disk).
When I checked the Windows firewall and virus-protection status it reported McAfee was still running the show. I decided to uninstall McAfee and see what affect that had. When I rechecked the Windows status I found the McAfee Virus Protection had gone but now "McAfee Personal Firewall" was installed! This was the 'aha' moment I had been looking for! I never saw this previously because installing BitDefender had somehow masked this in the firewall status and there was nothing else that indicated there were still McAfee components installed.

With this bit of knowledge I went Googling for info on getting rid of any remnants of a McAfee installation and came across the following removal tool:
http://download.mcafee.com/products/licensed/cust_support_patches/MCPR.exe

I decided to go for broke and restored the system to the latest restore point. I checked the firewall status and verified that Windows Firewall was in control and that there was no mention of McAfee Personal Firewall (just to be sure I didn't miss this previously). I then ran the removal tool. It dutifully did what it was meant to do and removed numerous McAfee components (that I thought would have been removed when I did the original uninstall). After a reboot I found my Windows 7 box was now responding to pings and my file shares were now visible.

The moral of this long winded story is:
Don't give up and don't trust any software to uninstall itself properly, especially virus protection/firewall software that puts out tenticles into all areas of your system and may leave a few behind if not completely uninstalled.

Guru said...

Hi

You very first solution for network discovery actually did the trick. My Mac now able to ping my Vista laptop immediately w/o restart of Vista. Thanks a lot.

But I still have issue where i can not do RDC from Mac to Windows. But I am able to do to my other XP laptop.

The only differnece is in XP I have a domain/ where in Vista I have a workgroup called as WORKGROUP.

But regardless of mentioning that I still can not RDC to my Vista box

Thanks for nice article though
Guru

Alfonz said...

Hallo all,

Kaspersky in Win7 was the reason not to be able to ping from WinXP.
Firewal rule in Zones tab (Anti-Hacker item) changed to Local Network has been the solution.

As a result my iPhone could connect to karatasi dbf in my Win7.
--
Anyway: without this article and without the discussion I could hardly find it out. So big thank to all of you.

Regards

Alfonz, Kosice, Slovakia, Europe

Anonymous said...

THANKS !!!!

Fixed my issue with creating an ftp server too... I had the firewall OFF and still couldn't connect.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Andrew. Based on your comments I turned off the McAfee firewall, and was able to ping my W7 from XP. You saved me a lot of work!

Chris said...

My problem seems to be the reverse...My Vista desktop can ping/see(in network map)/access all shares on the Windows7 laptop. The windows7 laptop can see the vista desktop in the network map but cannot ping it or access any of the Vista desktop shares (the only thing I really need is access to the printer). I have been at this for over 2 week a few hours every night.....many forums/boards/blogs/etc.... the closest I thought I got was when the read about homegroups only working with Windows 7 machines....so I turned it off..Guess what? the laptop disappears from the netowrk...could not access/see in the map/ping....turned it back on....then read about IPv6. same thing...It was on...turned it off...Laptop disappeared....turned back on, laptop returned...I have looked thru everything on the vista machine that I could think of and what others have suggested....Any more suggestions?????

Janet Hillion said...

Sorry, for any necro threads, but this helped 5 years later. The culprit was Windows Firewall; seemingly corrupted, and couldn't even start. I.e. I followed the instructions in the original post, except that Windows firewall wouldn't start up (previously didn't start up). Searched the internet for the error and removed some corrupted or temp files, or something like that, and .... pingable. I turned it back off, hopefully forever.

Regardless agree with "my point of view with Windows Firewall: I hate it.". Please burn that wall with something more powerful than fire!