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Network Analysis

Resolution for IPC$, Incorrect password or unknown username problem

1. Mixed Workgroups' Network Lab Analysis
2. Mixed Domains & Workgroups' Network Lab Analysis

Mixed Workgroup Network Lab Analysis

Environment: there are four computers in the lab. Computer A is Win2000 in a domain named ntdomain/ntdomain.com, and both local and domain logon names are lab and the password test; B is WinXP in a workgroup named groupB, logon name is lab with the same password, test; C is also WinXP in a workgroup named groupC, logon name is lab that logs on automatically without the password; D is Win98 in the same domain, ntdomain/ntdomain.com, logon domain account is lab with the same password.

All four machines are in the same subnet and can ping each other. All computers are setup file and printer sharing. A and B's  guest accounts are disabled; C' guest account is enabled.

Results and Analysis:

  • All A, B and C can see \\D without any problems (because D is Win98 - not real secure authorization model).
  • A can see \\C (because of the guest account enabled), but not B with error: \\B is not accessible. Logon failure: account currently disable (because when logging on A with ntdomain/ntdomain.com, you type lab but it logs on as lab@ntdomain.con or ntdomain\lab (UPN) so that lab@ntdomain.con or ntdomain\lab does not match B's local account lab. In the other words, if logging on A with local computer, no domain, A can see \\B. Also, if you disable or remove lab local account from A, only D, Win98 with domain logon, can see \\A).
  • B can see all \\A and \\C (because of using same logon).
  • C can see both \\A  and \\B  (When clicking  \\A or \\B, the logon screen come out and type lab as logon name with the same password, test).
  •  D can see all \\A, \\B and \\C (because of the same logon in all workgroups and domain).

If you disable the C guest account, a logon screen will show with \\C\guest logon when clicking the \\C from B (WinXP) (Enter Network Password screen will show when clicking the \\C from A, Win2000). No matter what logon account and password (even administrator) you will use, you cannot get into it.

Note: by default, WinXP guest account is disabled. After you share a folder or drive, guest account enable automatically.

In conclusion, If all networking computers are in the same workgroup or domain, using the same protocol, enabling file and printer sharing, and logging on the same username and password, they should be able to access each other. If they are in the different workgroups or domain, you MAY need to enable a guest account on the accessed computers (or enable simple file sharing if it is WinXP) for other machines to see them.

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Mixed Domains and Workgroups' Network Lab Analysis

Environment: there are four NT 4 servers, ten W2K servers, three workgroups and over three hundreds Win9x, Win2K and a few WinXP in this mixed domain/workgroup network lab. The domain has AD, DNS and WINS setup correctly and all clients in the domain work fine without major problems.

Test and analysis: some laptops with workgroup network settings and some desktops logging on local computers may not be able to access some Win2K servers depending on the logon IDs (no problems with NT 4). For example, my WinXP laptop is setup for a workgroup and I could access most network resources if I logon the workgroup using the domain user account (it is the same local user account and password). However, I might need to enter the same user account and password again (the screen may show "Connecting to servername, User name: Password:" "Incorrect password or username" or "IPC$" depending on the OS) when accessing some Win2K servers. I would be able to access the server after entering the same username and password until restarting the computer. Also, I don't have this problem if I logon as administrator.

To figure out the problem, I did spend a lot time to study the situation. I found that most time I had the problem with the new installed servers even I had created the same user account and password on the local computer. My first thought was the server had not cached my id and password. So, I logged on the server locally and then my laptop. I was able to access the server without prompting for the username and password. To make sure it really works. I rebooted the server and the laptop, and re-logged on the server using administrator id and logged on laptop using my regular domain id. Bingo! It works!

I would also like to mention another case that is not only confirming the above solution but also brings us a troubleshooting tip. After above testing, I still had the problem to access one old Win2K server and I had logged on it myself one year ago. My first try is logon the sever locally by using my logon id. I could not. That is great! I could not access to this server because my local account's password in this server was my old password and different from my current domain id's password. It works after changing the password to match the existing domain id's password.

Conclusion: You get "Connecting to servername, User name: Password:" "Incorrect password or username" or "IPC$" screen for asking username and  password in a mixed domains/workgroups network because one or more of the following possible reasons:

  • the client is in the mixed domains/workgroups networks environment.
  • The user name and password you are using to log on are not contained in the local user accounts database of the Win2K/XP computers.
  • The remote computers haven't cached credential (the local user account and password).
  • The Win98-based client is configured with user-level authentication to an NT domain.

The resolution is easy and just makes sure you are using the same logon ID and password and/or the remote computers have the logon ID and password cached. To cache the account and password on the remote computer, you need, at least one time,  to logon the same username and password on the computer locally.


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