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I have a home wireless network setup and my PC has an external hard-drive that I use to store pictures and other files. I've never had a problem doing this before, but all of a sudden, when I try to copy files from my laptop, I get a couple of files across and then I get

Network Error
There is a problem accessing [path]
Make sure you are connected to the network and try again

From that point on, I am unable to get out beyond my firewall. Although my laptop sees the wireless network, it is unable to interact with the pc, nor is it able to access the internet unless I reboot the laptop.

My laptop is running fully updated Vista, and the PC is running XP sp3, fully updated.

Any idea what the problem is? If I go directly to the PC I can access the external drive with no problems at all.

**Update - Recycling everything as mentioned below does not help. :(

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Are you able to access the internet or any other network related task other than files shares on that machine after this problem has occurred? Can you ping a) your router, and b) the other machine? – William Hilsum Aug 29 '09 at 20:04
After the problem has occurred, have you tried rebooting the router (instead of the laptop)? Does that restore the laptop's connectivity? – quack quixote Oct 2 '09 at 19:21

The problem could be flakiness in your laptop software (firmware, drivers, OS, etc), flaky router firmware, flaky interaction between the differing Windows versions. If power-cycling all three devices doesn't help, here's some other things to try:

  • If you are initiating the copy from the laptop, try initiating the copy from the desktop instead.

  • Copy to an internal drive first, THEN copy from the internal drive to the external USB drive.

  • If the laptop has an ethernet port, use it's wired connection when transferring files. You may need to disable the wireless connection while the wired is active.

  • Update wireless drivers on the laptop.

  • Update router firmware.

If NONE of these work for you, the next thing I'd try is replacing the router. (Or, if third-party firmware such as Tomato, DD-WRT, or OpenWRT are available for your router, install one of those.)

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Shut down both PC and Laptop, do a 30 second power cycle on the router. Plug the router back in, and wait for lights to stabilize, then bring up PC, then laptop.

Does this work?

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