Network file sharing - tutorial


#1

I know many are having issues with the Live and networking, so I hope this helps.This is without changing any public sharing, media sharing, passwords and homegroups are still on , basically a default install of windows.

When troubleshooting you want to take as many variables out of the mix as possible. Start from the basics and work your way up. Some of the steps may seem mundane but please do not skip any of them as the process is very important to finding the problem.

Use a crossover cable. A crossover cable is an ethernet cable that has some of the wires swapped on one end.

If you hold cable ends side by side you will see a different order on crossover cables. 

A normal cable will have all the colors in the same order. It will not hurt the pc if you use the wrong cable, it just may not work.
Yes this means moving the live and fiddling with the wiring on the pc, but it is a necessary step :slight_smile:

Do not supplement a wireless connection for this part. Connect the Live and pc using the crossover cable.

Now you need to set up the network on the pc.

Go to network settings and tell it you want to manually assign IP addresses.

In windows that is under local area conneciton / properties / Internet protocol V4 / properties

Set it to use the following IP address:

IP address: 192.168.1.1

Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0

Default gateway: 192.168.1.2

DNS you can leave blank

Click ok 

On the live use the following:

IP address: 192.168.1.2

Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0

Default gateway: 192.168.1.1

DNS blank

In windows go to start, in the box type  CMD

In the window that pops up type ping 192.168.1.2

You should see something like below with less than 2ms times and no loss.

C:\Users\mgr>ping 192.168.1.2

Pinging 192.168.1.2 with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 192.168.1.2: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64

Reply from 192.168.1.2: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64

Reply from 192.168.1.2: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64

Reply from 192.168.1.2: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64

Ping statistics for 192.168.1.2:   Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),

Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:   Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 0ms, Average = 0ms

That shows we have a good connection to the box. If you don’t see something like above then you have a firewall or something else in the way. There are too many firewall products for me to tell you how to set it so I would disable them for this test.  If you disable the firewall and still do not get a connection then make sure the lights are lit on the ethernet ports of the WDTV and the pc. 

The next thing we need to setup is the workgroup. Workgroups are simply groups of devices to make it easier to manage. When you turn on a device on the network the device announces itself to the LMB or local master browser located within its workgroup only. The master browser will be the device with the highest OS level. Here is where it can get tricky. If you have two  pc on the network either of them can become the master browser mainly depending on who was there first. One day you turn on PC#1 and PC#2 was already running so it is the LMB. Next day you turn on PC#2 then PC#1 and PC#2 is the LMB. If you were to turn off the pc that is the current LMB then all the devices start negotiating again to decide who will be the LMB.

The LMB is important because it is what keeps a list of all the shares and what devices have those shares. If you have 2 pc on the network and PC#1 is the LMB but PC#2 has the files you want to access then the WDTV is going to work like: WDTV (I need a file) --PC#1(The share is on PC#2)–WDTV(ok, asking PC#2 for file)-- PC#2(Sending filex)

This is why when the workgroup names do not match you cannot see the other device. LMB only serve to their workgroup , wrong workgroup and the WDTV tries to become the LMB with no shares to access since they are all on the other workgroup. LMB can be a bad thing for home users that turn on and off pc frequently because the LMB will keep moving to whomever was there first. In business it works fine because they have a dedicated server that runs 24/7 and doesn’t change, so the LMB is always the same.

Check your pc workgroup name in control panel/ Advanced system settings / Computer name

Make sure it reads WORKGROUP with no spaces or other letters. If not click change and correct it… You have to have your network named WORKGROUP for sharing to work correctly.

After you have done that you should be able to open windows explorer and click network located below all the drive letters. You should see your pc and the unique name for your live, mine shows: WDTVLIVE-45F2C You should be able to click it and see the attached drive now. .It works because the Live was set up to not authenticate access to it, as long as the network workgroup is correct you can access the live. You can use this as a way to transfer files to or from the live usb drive.

We already know from above that the important part is the workgroup setting and we know that is correct now. So now we have to work out how the live will authenticate with the pc. On the live the only options we have are name and password. One thing to watch for is that the live is linux based and so you need to choose your name and passwords carefully. Usernames are sent as ALL uppercase by windows but the live will convert those to ALL lowercase and use that for the username. There are settings for samba that overcome this somewhat but we don’t know what WD used ,so it is best to use what we know will work. Simplify things by just picking a username in all lower case like: mypc

Next we add a user just for the live. This will let us customize the settings for the live without changing our main settings.
Go to control panel/ User Accounts / Manage another account
Pick create new account
Give it a simple name like mypc
Leave it with standard user
click create account

Now click on the account you just created
click create a password
again pick something simple for the password all lower case
click create password
Close control panel

Open windows explorer and right click the file or folder you want to share
Pick properties
Click sharing tab
Click share
In the drop down option pick the account you just created
Click share
Click done
close explorer

On the live go to video / network share/
enter the account you just created on the pc and the password
Click OK

You should see the files you shared.

Using accounts like this gives you some flexibility you cannot get by just sharing everything. You can now set up accounts for media that you might not want others in the family seeing, like R rated stuff. You can set up an account with just those files shared and on the WDTV nobody can access them without that accounts user/pass. So you could put the kids stuff in one account and your stuff in another and not worry about your 5 year old clicking on a R rated movie. If you do this make sure to set the live as not to autologin and remember to clear your passwords on the box after viewing.

If you can share your video on the live now then congrats !
Now start putting the network back together for normal use. Change the pc back to grab an ip from the router if that is how you had it. Connect the live to the router and make sure you can still share, if not, you know it is the router, that is the reason for taking other parts out of the loop. In homes that have multiple pc on the network don’t forget about the local master browser . If the pc that is serving the video is not the browser and someone turns off the pc that is the browser then the network will try to re-negotiate a LMB. That can take up to a minute and during that time your video can stop, pause or quit.


#2

it doesnt fix anything. the problem is pin pointed but there is no solid solution in your post. why dont we just “force” a certain PC to become the LMB? or disable LMB?


#3

paolo_cebu wrote:
it doesnt fix anything. the problem is pin pointed but there is no solid solution in your post. why dont we just “force” a certain PC to become the LMB? or disable LMB?

Because that is not how netbios shares work.  This has nothing to do with western digital or the Live. It is the way it works and has worked on computers for  over 10 years.  If you want to make a LMB that never changes it is pretty easy to do, you need a pc on the network that is never turned off.   You cannot disable LMB because then the network has no way to know who has the shares.  


#4

Hi,

thanks for detailed explanation but I have some questings:


ptricks wrote:

Go to network settings and tell it you want to manually assign IP addresses.> * * *

-> Why manually assign? My router does this automatically and always uses same ip etc:

my laptop:

192.168.2.35

subnet: 255.255.255.0

gateway 192.168.2.1

wdtvlive

192.168.2.31

ping 192.168.2.31 showed perfect results as you indicated

-> group is assigned WORKGROUP

master browser issue:

solution #1:

  • I have to turn on always my file sharing laptop (computer 1) first?

#2:

  • I have to assign my webbook (compter 2) to a diffrent group e.g. WORKGROUPNOSHARE?

no problem to access usb harddisk connected to my WDTVLIVE from laptop


I changed my administaor username to lowercase and added a new dummy user wo admin rights.

in xp home I shared to folders, there is NO possibility to  assign folders to users.

-> access denied: to my shared ‘own folders’ of admin

-> access denied: to shared ‘normal folder’ on C drive

-> access denied: to shared ‘group folder’ on C drive

what’s wrong?


#5

-> Why manually assign? My router does this automatically and always uses same ip etc:

The reason is because while your router is working correctly , some other people may have a totally different setup. By connecting the pc and the WDTV Live directly and giving them manual ip addresses this removes everything but the pc and the WDTV LIve from being the problem, no router, etc to cause problems. If it works with the direct connect and you add something back like the router and it stops working then you know where to troubleshoot. Once you get it working with the direct connection then move it back and use the router like normal.

- I have to turn on always my file sharing laptop (computer 1) first?

No. If all the computers are off , the first computer you turn on will be the master browser for all the shares no matter what pc they are on . All the browser does is act as a list of what computer has files to share. The important part is that if you then turn off the pc that is the master browser , the shares could stop until all the computers realize the master browser is gone and they pick a new computer to be the master browser. If you are playing media that could cause it to stop , stutter, or restart. The system is designed that way so in a work environment if the main server goes down another would start automatically making sure the network stayed up . It just doesn’t work so well in homes that turn pc on and off.

- I have to assign my webbook (compter 2) to a diffrent group e.g. WORKGROUPNOSHARE?

You can have every pc on the network with the same WORKGROUP if you like , whether or not they share files it doesn’t matter . The important thing is to remember the WDTV Live will only see the shares on computers with the name WORKGROUP.

no problem to access usb harddisk connected to my WDTVLIVE from laptop

If you can see the files on the WDTV Live from the laptop then the setup for WORKGROUP is correct and a pc on the network is functioning as the browser. You just need the correct login info for the shares

I changed my administaor username to lowercase and added a new dummy user wo admin rights.

in xp home I shared to folders, there is NO possibility to  assign folders to users.

-> access denied: to my shared ‘own folders’ of admin

-> access denied: to shared ‘normal folder’ on C drive

-> access denied: to shared ‘group folder’ on C drive

what’s wrong?

XP is set to share files with other windows pc by default but not devices so you need to go to control panel, folder options and on the View tab, under Advanced settings, clear Use simple file sharing [Recommended] Then go back to the folder properties and there will be a new tab, security. On it click Add , in the box type the name of the account you made and then check names and it will fill it in, then you can set what you want it to be allowed to do . I usually check read, write and list . Good luck !


#6

He has XP Home. You can not turn off simple file sharing. For that you need XP Pro.


#7

I have Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit but wdtv live does not detect my computer. I did everything  according your tutorial ( I know those basic things as I did them for windows 95 ,2000, xp sharing files with my son computer, he has now windows  7 pro 64 bit). Problem starts when I tried access files on USB drives at WDTV Live . First under network, on my computer,  WDTLIVE is listed only under media devices, but on my son computer WDTVLIVE is listed under COMPUTER and under media devices. Using command  \WDTVLIVE I can see USB drives connected to WDTVLIVE from my son computer , but I cannot get a connection to WDTVLIVE from my computer. I am getting massage that wdtv computer or device cannot be find.  That is strange because it is already listed as media device. From WDTVLIVE using video network share I can see only my son computer name but I was not successful  to go further from that. When I was asked for user name and password it would reject that  as wrong logging (user name or password). I tried already various advices on this forum and other forums ( enabling or disabling various parameters for networking, stoping my firework protection) but I could not access share directory at my son computer or see my computer under WDTVLIVE network . I can share files between my son computer, I also share printer at his computer, what was the first reason to establish home network.

I have latest version of firmware on WDTV live. I will appreciate any help.( sorry for my English)


#8

Hi ptricks,

first of all, thanks for the detailed and logical explanation!!! Super support!!!

#1  from your last post I learned: problem with LMB is switching the compters off!

Ok, but when I turn my Laptop on 1st it is LMB, when my grilfried turns her webbook on and off, it should not have an impact, because LMB is still on my laptop

–> logically WD should make sure by firmware, that WD-TV-live should be assigned als LMB. Thats the only place, where this ‘list’ makes sense

anyway

–>workaround, switching on my laptop first or

–> stop LMB service on the webbook?!

#2

quote

‘You can have every pc on the network with the same WORKGROUP if you like , whether or not they share files it doesn’t matter . The important thing is to remember the WDTV Live will only see the shares on computers with the name WORKGROUP.’

I do experience it differently in my environment. I see all 3 PCs of my LAN in my WDLIVE : PC#1 assigned to WORKGROUP, PC#2 assigned to MSHOME and PC#3 assigned to a unique name like XYZ4DBMDSB

I thought, would be good workaround to rename the webbook to a non WORKGROUP group, that it will not be seen by WD TV.

#3 security

With XP home I dont have access to ‘simple file sharing’. I’ll try in protected mode tonight.

Funny enough, filesharing worked untill I started tweaking my laptop (XP home) to get rid of network drops. Then suddenly WDbos asked my about username/password -> I used my admin accout for laptop and it worked.

And I can access the webbook without password (xp home).

—> Im confused :-(  Do you have any other idea for solution, nevertheless I’ll check simple file sharing in protected mode.

Bottom line, I agree to your diagnosis, I my case it’s most likely the router because I also got these drops in the past, when my laptop was ‘alone’ with WD-box and I had access to shares.

anyway

Thanks a million

Axl


#9

Windows XP Home does not have simple file sharing. It’s only available under XP Professional.


#10

In the end I made it ;-).

In the end the solution was strange restriced access in group-policies.

I applied a tweak to see group-policies untder xp home. An added / deleted users under:

computerconfiguration/windows-settings/local policies/agssign user rights/access to this computer from network

now I can access my lan folders, but this dropping started again ;-), what a surprise.

With all the infos from ptricks, I think this network-shar-drop issue is a combination of:

  • computerbrowser - LMB functionaltiy - and

  • router

Seems that my router is renewing connection sometimes …

as a consequence LMB functionaltiy is started and shares drop.

If somebody is interested in group-polices under XP home you need XP SP3 and the following script - sorry its in german but maybe also works with english SP.

http://www.pcwelt.de/index.cfm?pid=662&pk=65615

thx to all

Axl


#11

If a specific computer on the network is having issues with the Live the best way to find out it what it is , is by using a crossover cable. Connect the problem pc and the live directly. Then see if you can find the settings that are causing problems. Trying to troubleshoot with lots of other devices involved, routers, switches, wireless usb, makes it much harder.


#12

Nice post, but it does not work for me :frowning:

I have an environments where some PC’s are on a workgroup called “WORKGROUP” and then I have two laptops from a company environments that are domain joined. Those work computers are not there all the time ( we use them to work from home, and take them back to work ) 

I’m experiencing the disconnection problem and, sure enough when it occurs the WD will only see one of the laptop. I have to reboot the WD to see my home PC again.

This is so frustrating and I think that it could be eliminated by letting the user map the drive manually (  using [\PC\Folder](file://%5C%5CPC%5CFolder) ) instead of relying on this “automatic discovery”. A lot of users are having this problem. ( according to Google )


#13

Just FYI, NONE of my computers (a mix of XP Pro, Vista, Win7) are members of the default workgroup WORKGROUP and the WD-TV-Live box sees and accesses the network shares just fine, as well as all the media servers that are running.


#14

fcwilt wrote:

Just FYI, NONE of my computers (a mix of XP Pro, Vista, Win7) are members of the default workgroup WORKGROUP and the WD-TV-Live box sees and accesses the network shares just fine, as well as all the media servers that are running.

    • *> It is not possible to see files on a workgroup that is not the same as the other pc on the network. If you have media servers running then that is what you are seeing, not samba file sharing that the WDTV uses. That is networking 101 , been that way for over 10 years.> >

#15

konnihall wrote:

This is so frustrating and I think that it could be eliminated by letting the user map the drive manually (  using [\PC\Folder](file://%5C%5CPC%5CFolder) ) instead of relying on this “automatic discovery”. A lot of users are having this problem. ( according to Google )

 

 

    • *> Here is the problem. Every OS has its own file system with custom permissions and its own way of doing things. Most pc are windows, but some are apple, while others are linux. Windows uses NTFS for files while linux uses EXT 2 or 3 . Samba was created to allow sharing of files between OS that have different file systems. It is possible to custom cfg samba to a specific location on the network, but WD did not make that option available.> If you install the custom firmware from http://b-rad.cc  then you can edit the smb.conf file to do what you want.>

#16

Hi,

Yes the WD box can see the media servers but it can also see the shares from the other computers.

The other computers can also see the shares from the WD box.

The WD box is a member of the WORKGROUP workgroup but the other computers are members of the HOME workgroup.

It does indeed work.

Thanks.


#17

My WDTV Live works perfectly.  No dropping of any media files of any format, plays every media file format i can throw at it, network shares work flawlessly, tons of media servers work flawlessly also.  I didn’t have to do any manual IP configs.  It also doesn’t matter which computers, media device, and modem/router i boot up first.  It all works no matter what i do to it. But in fairness to the author of this thread, he is somewhat accurate in his tutorial.  But all the stuff with configuring IPs and this computer has to be on first or one computer running all the time is really not necessary.  It would take me a week, time I really don’t have, especially when I am not getting a pennny for that amount of work thats involved in making up a tutorial that would solve everyone’s problems as the author of this thread probably realized himself.

 

The checklist to help someone else resolve all their issues is lengthy.  Having said that, the issues discussed in all the threads all have very simple solutions and trust me when I say, the issues are all on the PC/Router end.  I haven’t tackled one issue yet that the WDTV LIve was the cause either directly or indirectly.  So, at minimum I’ll leave you with these thoughts…

 

- No IP configuring of any kind needed.

 

- In router settings, don’t use DMZ !!  Use Application Support instead. Go to http://portforward.com/ where you will find everything you need to forward ports through your router for your WDTV Live, for Tversity, for Playon, for Crackle (one of the Playon plugins) and anything else connected to your media device that needs the network.  It has just about every modem/router that exists that will give you a tutorial w/ pictures so easy a baby could do it.  It also gives you almost all the media servers that could be connected with the same tutorials.  They make it real easy for you.  The more stuff associated with your networked media player, the more ports you need to forward.  I have 15 different TCP/UDP items forwarded in my router.  This is crucial.

 

- PERMISSIONS !!!  So huge to get this tight. Also very crucial to everything working right.  On the folder you enable file sharing, you also need to spend time in the section called PERMISSIONS.  If you don’t know what to do here, just go to every user you see there and give it every permission allowed. 

 

- Disable Firewall/ICS in your services.  You don’t need ICS in a “MODERN” network.   Also, the Windows firewall is only good for “blocking” in your local network.  Its almost useless outside of your local network like the internet. Having this service ON will cause you many headaches.  There is a way to get it to work with it on, but it is very involved.  As the ol cliche says, “keep it simple stupid”.

- Myth that you CANNOT have multiple media servers running at the same time does not apply if your network/PC is setup properly.

- I have tried different anti virus/ anti spyware suites.  Rarely did I run into a problem.  If I did, the message that popped up usually mentions or gives a clue as to what to do.  Almost a non issue. 

- Media formats, or media dropping off, or A / V out of sync should and will not be an issue if your Network/PC is setup properly or the media you downloaded was recorded properly in the first place.  I have tried time and time again throwing every format I could find to get this WDTV unit to fail me once and it hasn’t yet.

 

- Myth about renaming folder/file names a special way so WDTV can see the shares also does not apply.  If that is what it takes to get your media player to see your shares, then your PC/Network is not setup properly.  This one caused me to chuckle alittle, sorry.

Also, if you can only see some of your shares or you only see part of your shares sometimes, then thats also a red flag your PC/Network is not setup properly.

 

- Myth about the order of which PC/multiple PCs/media players/Modem/Router to boot up first does not apply and is another red flag your PC/Network is not setup properly.  I can turn everything on which every order I want to turn it on and it doesn’t affect anything. 

 

-  Video stuttering/Constant buffering.  Cause is either the PC doesn’t have the horsepower, internet connection not fast enough, or you have heavy internal/external ethernet traffic, or heavy HDD usage at time of streaming, or network card set to 10 mb/s Full Duplex instead of 100 mb/s Full Duplex in the network card settings. 

 

 

 


#18

FlyBoyJim wrote:

 **   But all the stuff with configuring IPs and this computer has to be on first or one computer running all the time is really not necessary.  It would take me a week, time I really don’t have, especially when I am not getting a pennny for that amount of work thats involved in making up a tutorial that would solve everyone’s problems as the author of this thread probably realized himself.**

                                                                                                                                                     


Nowhere did I say IP had to be configured or that the sharing computer had to be the first one on the network. That isn’t how LMB works. Any pc can be the LMB and order of turn on does not matter unless your network is composed of multiple OS then it does matter because some OS have higher privilidges in the negotiation. I am more than willing to take the time to help people, but not if people are not willing to listen.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                       

- PERMISSIONS !!!  So huge to get this tight. Also very crucial to everything working right.  On the folder you enable file sharing, you also need to spend time in the section called PERMISSIONS.  If you don’t know what to do here, just go to every user you see there and give it every permission allowed. 

                                                                                                                                                                            

VERY bad idea. Never blindly enable permissions on a network, not even a home network. One pc on that network could harm every other pc connected.  Your kid downloads a virus and soon every pc in the home is infected.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 - Disable Firewall/ICS in your services.  You don’t need ICS in a “MODERN” network.   Also, the Windows firewall is only good for “blocking” in your local network.  Its almost useless outside of your local network like the internet. Having this service ON will cause you many headaches.  There is a way to get it to work with it on, but it is very involved.  As the ol cliche says, “keep it simple stupid”.

                                                                                                                                                                          


BAD BAD idea. The router does not protect a pc from outgoing traffic 95% of the time. If you have malware running it can make a connection to the internet and the router will pass the replies coming from the web back to the host pc without so much as a blink that something is wrong. The local firewall is important because it will alert of outgoing traffic that is local to the specific pc.   The way to get it to work with firewall on is to do nothing. Windows will add the exception for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                  

- Media formats, or media dropping off, or A / V out of sync should and will not be an issue if your Network/PC is setup properly or the media you downloaded was recorded properly in the first place.  I have tried time and time again throwing every format I could find to get this WDTV unit to fail me once and it hasn’t yet.

                                                                                                                                            


Try mp4 files and fast forward and rewind, they will lose sync even when playing off a local usb drive. It is a known problem with the sigma smp8655 chipset and the sdk in use.

                                                                                                                                                                                        

- Myth about the order of which PC/multiple PCs/media players/Modem/Router to boot up first does not apply and is another red flag your PC/Network is not setup properly.  I can turn everything on which every order I want to turn it on and it doesn’t affect anything. 

                                                                                                                                                                                      


As I said above order doesn’t matter UNLESS you have multiple OS on the network  OR you turn off the pc that is the browser in the middle of sharing.  Just because it works in your home does not mean that is the way it is supposed to work. All I have listed are the facts not opinions.  The rules on SAMBA and file sharing do not change from home to home, I’ve programmed with it for over 10 years ,  they are  available here:

http://www.samba.org/