Can't see shared folders in the Navigation Pane in File Explorer on either of two networked laptops ?

Sep 1, 2020
10
1
15
0
I have two HP laptops, both running 20H2 with the latest updates. A problem that existed before the update did not go away after the update like I thought it would.

Both machines are networked through an Ethernet switch to the router and to a printer. I have shared folders on both laptops, and printer sharing is also turned on. When I first turned on sharing, all my shared folders appeared in the File Explorer navigation pane under the Network on both machines, and also in the main pane when I opened the network folder. Sporadically they would stop appearing on either of the machines, sometimes on one, sometimes on the other, sometimes on both. I haven't seen the shared folders in the Navigation Pane for several months now. I was wise enough to map the shared folders as drives on the appropriate machines, so I know my network is good- I can access everything through the mapped drives in My Computer on both machines, and the mapped drives appear in the Navigation Pane on both. i have no problems reading or writing to anything. I have no trouble printing from either machine- basically the network runs just fine. In the opened network view, the two laptops appear as media servers only- the laptops themselves do not appear like they used to.

It's more of an annoyance than anything- it doesn't affect functionality at all, but it just irritates me that what used to work now no longer does. It appears to me that this is just a problem in File Explorer itself. I tried a half dozen or so File Explorer replacements, and they all do the same thing.

Any suggestions?
 

MPF-Dean

Reputable
Jan 2, 2017
205
5
4,865
51
Hey MJW72652

I was always taught never to assume, so please don't hate me for suggesting this;

Have you enabled network discovery for these devices on your local network? - Its fine to leave the firewall on
 
Sep 1, 2020
10
1
15
0
Yes. Everything is shared. Everything works 100% . The network has absolutely no problem in functioning at all. I can read and write and do everything in all folders. The only thing that doesn't happen is the shared folders don't show up consistently in File Explorer on both computers.
 

MPF-Dean

Reputable
Jan 2, 2017
205
5
4,865
51
Shared is 1 part, File Explorer > Network is where network discovery comes in to play - have you checked that? (I am unclear with your reply)
 
Sep 1, 2020
10
1
15
0
Yes. They don't consistently appear on either laptop in either the Navigation pane or in the main network pane. Sometimes they all appear on one and not the other. Sometimes some of them appear on one and others appear on the other. Sometimes they all appear on both. Sometimes none of them appear anywhere. Things spontaneously change without any restarts just by opening and closing File Explorer. Sometimes restarts cause them to appear or not appear. But the shared folders mapped as drives on both machines always appear both in the navigation pane and under This PC, so I am able to use them with no loss of functionality.

The laptops themselves, as network devices, have the same bizarre behavior, both in the navigation panes and in the main network views. Moreover, other network devices spontaneously appear and disappear under the network view. The view itself changes spontaneously, sometimes showing devices categorized, sometimes without categories. Since they are both connected to the same ethernet switch with CAT5e cables, there is no reason for this. Again, this happens without any restarts of either machine, just by opening or closing File Explorer. The only thing that stays consistent is that both laptops always appear as media devices in the main network view on both laptops.
 

MPF-Dean

Reputable
Jan 2, 2017
205
5
4,865
51
Okay so we have a few options now;

Go to services.msc (type it in start)

Make sure these are ON and set to AUTOMATIC
- Function Discovery Provider Host
- Function Discovery Resource Publication
- SSDP Discovery
- UPnP Device Host
Network discovery will not work without these (do to both devices)

Make sure your network is set to Private

Try again please
 
Sep 1, 2020
10
1
15
0
Been there, done that. Even enabled legacy services for sharing. Even reinstalled windows several times. Problem keeps coming back- it existed even before the upgrade to 20H2.
 

MPF-Dean

Reputable
Jan 2, 2017
205
5
4,865
51
I have 2 other options

1. Would be 1 has SMB1.0 enabled and one doesn't. But you would be experiencing issues with the mapped drive as well
- Probably worth a check to disable it for both (you may in the end need to enable for both) - but its best practice to disable due to it being a security vulnerability now
 
Sep 1, 2020
10
1
15
0
SMB is the legacy service that I had to enable on both. After the upgrade to 20H2, I couldn't see the shares at all on either laptop. After I enabled it on both, per help from another forum, all the shares popped in on both machines, but after another restart it went back to the sometimes on sometimes off on both. Regardless of being able to see the shares or not, the mapped drives continue to show up and work perfectly. I believe if the file sharing was not working correctly, I wouldn't be able to access the mapped folder. Is this incorrect?
 

MPF-Dean

Reputable
Jan 2, 2017
205
5
4,865
51
SMB is the legacy service that I had to enable on both. After the upgrade to 20H2, I couldn't see the shares at all on either laptop. After I enabled it on both, per help from another forum, all the shares popped in on both machines, but after another restart it went back to the sometimes on sometimes off on both. Regardless of being able to see the shares or not, the mapped drives continue to show up and work perfectly. I believe if the file sharing was not working correctly, I wouldn't be able to access the mapped folder. Is this incorrect?
Yes correct - you should see SMB errors as popups and in the event log
 
Sep 1, 2020
10
1
15
0
Haven't seen any error messages of any kind. Believe me, I have spent far more time on this than it's really worth. I can do everything I need because I had the foresight to map all the folders one time when I could see the shares It just annoys me no end to see this stuff pop in and out with no rhyme or reason. The only thing left to try that I can see is to do a nuclear strike and wipe out Windows with a clean install, but the time it would take to install all the software I have (probably 2 full days for each laptop) just doesn't seem worth the time and trouble). I do sincerely appreciate all the time you have taken to try to help.
 

MPF-Dean

Reputable
Jan 2, 2017
205
5
4,865
51
I would have to say this could very well be due to homegroups being removed you said this was happening for a while.

You can map the drives again regardless of not being able to see them in network, and thats pretty well what youd be doing if you reinstalled windows

I agree with you 100% at this point its not worth much more time

You are welcome, hope you had a good chrissy and a happy new year
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS