Weird XP Network Connection Problem

Yesterday my Windows XP Pro PC had a hissy fit and crashed. Rebooted and got the Blue Screen Of Death. Rebooted successfully to safe mode, then into normal functionality. Or so I thought…

So, I was immediately able to connect to the network, log on and access the internet and work with my exchange mailbox. The first indication of problems was when I tried to access my documents on a network share. I started getting messages about the Network Service not being started.

I started troubleshooting basic functionality: pinged a few local servers, checked out DNS resolution, etc and it was all fine. Tried a net use to connect a network drive, but this failed. I checked the various network services and all were running normally, so I tried to simply browse the network through the childishly-named My Network Places, but got a similar “Unable to browse the network” error, along with “The network is not present or not started”. Shit! Enter Google

Turns out whatever happened screwed up a registry value which bizarrely allowed other network access, but not UNC-type stuff. I found a thread at CryptoOnline that pointed me through to the official fix at Microsoft. Follow this fix and you should be able to browse the network again immediately without a reboot.

Hope this helps anyone who has suffered the same problem.

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