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Background

I live in a student building, that has a large user network (which we use to access the internet), on which we also have a fileserver. When i connect my computer directly to the network I can (auto)discover the local fileserver (using vista) via the network dialog.

Problem

However, I now have a router between my computer and the main network, and now I can no longer find the fileserver (because I am now on a sub-network). Someone suggested I use the ip-address of the fileserver to contact it, and I have tried to do so with the help of SO-user Silviu.

But this has not been succesful. Which is why I am asking the question here, as I think this question might be more at home here as it's more about home computing than network administration (correct me if I'm wrong).

Question

So my question is: does anyone know how I can reach the fileserver on the network of which my router is a part (and therefore my computer indirectly as well)?

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1 Answer

WINS or NetBIOS name resolution, which depends on broadcasts and only works within the same subnet (i.e. without a router) is what you are doing when you specify just the hostname of the fileserver, i.e. \MYFILESERVER\myshare\directory.

The other way to resolve names is through DNS. If the fileserver is on a different subnet, one of the following is required:

  • The fileserver must have a fixed IP and you must manually specify it
  • The DNS servers you are currently using must be able to resolve the name and you must know it, i.e. \fileserver.mynetwork.internal\myshare\directory

Microsoft DHCP works with Microsoft DNS, updating DNS records as necessary, so in a typical corporate Active Directory environment you can usually specify the hostname and you might be doing DNS resolution without realizing. You can also do things like \{computer name}.{domain name}.com, again, in most typical setups, if that makes sense.

In a typical home setup you are not using AD and therefore the NetBIOS method is the only one being used. Nothing is stopping you from manually setting up and administering your own internal DNS server though.

Without an AD setup, whoever administers the DNS server needs to keep track of the records manually, or another mechanism of updating them automatically must be used.

If the IP is reachable by other means, such as pinging, etc. then a firewall might be blocking SMB traffic, or you may not have accounts configured correctly on the fileserver.

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Ok, but I don't really understand what the answer to my question is then.. What are my options? –  Samuel May 14 '12 at 12:27
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