I have a small home network at home with 3 computers all running WinXP PRO connected through a switch to my cable modem. We've been running this for three years, 1 year under WinXP. And it is still working great.

However, one of my sons bought a laptop with a builtin NIC and we connected it to the switch and it gets great internet access with no problems.

However...

As the original 3 computers can see each other on the network this laptop is problematic. It also has WinXP PRO. From the laptop the appearance of the other 3 computers on the network comes and goes. Likewise the appearance of the laptop from the other 3 computers comes and goes. In other words access to the internet from the laptop works consistently well but as far as being part of the network the laptop comes and goes. The laptop originally came with WinXP Home but we reformatted the hard drive and installed WinXP PRO and the problem has not gone away. This is a brand new HP laptop and we've only had it less than 24 hours.

We get this error message when we run NET VIEW from the command prompt - Error 6118. The description for the error is the list of servers for this workgroup is not currently available?

Some sources claim a firewall can cause this problem but this laptop has to firewall. The only thing running on it right now is WinXP PRO as we just did a reformat of the laptop.

We reboot all the computers and the problem goes away for a few minutes and then it comes back. All the time the laptop still accesses the internet but has problems keeping its appearance on the network.

Please help, why do 3 computers work well together on the network as the laptop acts wierd?