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I have two laptops on a home wifi network, call them c1 and c2. Both are Windows 8.1 Version 6.3 Build 9600.

Both can surf the web just fine.

Both can "see" the other in Windows Explorer - that is, the other shows up as a computer on the network, and shows up in the HomeGroup as well as under Network in the left pane.

But whereas c2 can explore c1's shared folders and access files, c1 cannot explore or access c2. When I try, c1 says "Windows cannot access \c2".

Also, there is a network drive - as USB external drive connected to a secondary router on the network. c2 can see and access that and I was able to map the drive. c1 cannot, giving the same "Windows cannot access \the-ip-address" message.

I've gone through all the network settings I know of with the machines side by side to ensure they are the same. But I do't know Windows networking all that well so I'm sure there are important settings I just don't even know to check.

Here's more detail on the behavior and settings:

BEHAVIOR

Open Windows Explorer. In left pane, for both c's: - shows HomeGroup, with c1 & c2. - under Network, shows c1 & c2

In c2, expand HomeGroup > c1 > c1 - shows Music, Pictures Videos - and clicking on any of them shows the true contents of the folders.

But on c1, expanding HomeGroup > c2 > c2 - shows Music, Pictures Videos, Network Share - but they are greyed out. Clicking on any of Music, Pictures Videos does nothing. Right click > Properties says " Properties not available". Clicking on Network

Share says "Windows cannot access \c2\Network _Share".

UPDATE: Changing what folders are shared under Pc Settings > Network > HomeGroup on c2 does change what folders c1 sees as accessible. When I change c2 so that only Pictures is shared, then only Pictures shows up when expanding c2. So, c1 is getting this share info from c2 over the network - why then when I try to actually access this shared folder does it says it can't connect to c2?

Under Network, clicking Network in left pane shows c1 & c2 under Computers in right pane, both c's.

On c2, clicking c1 under Network shows Printers, Users and MP3 in right pane. Exploring Users allows to drill down into

Pictures, Videos, Music folders and see files and open them.

But on c1, clicking c2 under Network says "Windows cannot access \c2".

SETTINGS I HAVE CHECKED

Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network Connections > WiFi > WiFi properties > Networking & Sharing

All identical

Control Panel\Network and Internet\HomeGroup

c1 has HomeGroup enabled and is sharing Pictures, Videos, Music and Printers. c2 says "This computer can't connect to a Homegroup. HomeGroup is not ready yet. Please try again in a few minutes. or start

the HomeGroup Troubleshooter. c2 HomeGroup Troubleshooter says "Some HomeGrou problems are network related. Troubleshoot network problems before continuing."

But Network Troublshooter can't diagnose problem, & Home Group Troubleshooter the same. Remember, c2 is the one that CAN explore c1.

Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network and Sharing Center\Advanced sharing settings:

Private (Current profile) - Network Discovery is ON and Automatic Setup of Network Connecetd Devices is checked on both c's. HomeGroup Connections - "Allow Windows to Manage HomeGrou connections" is selcted on both. All Networks - Public Folder Sharing is ON, 128bit encryption is ON, Password Protected Sharing is ON, on both c's

PC Settings > Network > HomeGroup

Sharing is ON for Music, Pictures, Video, Printers on both c's. Strangely, the "Leave" button is available on both c's, with the text "If you leave the HomeGroup..." - implying that c2 IS connected to the HomeGroup even though above it said it was unable to connect to a HomeGroup. Also, both computers show the same password under Password, to join the HomeGroup.

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It was a Windows Firewall setting. I don't know exactly which, but I had customized the Outbound rules. Re-setting the firewall to defaults and re-starting suddenly made c2 and the network drive show up and be accessible.

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