Troubleshooting networks: changing node type

Network cable

Last Friday at work I was determined to solve a problem that we’ve had since I arrived in May 2006. It was to do with our network: why could my colleague Steve connect to my PC but I couldn’t connect to his?

Why had it taken us until Friday last to get around to troubleshooting this problem? Because it wasn’t until then (eleven days before the public release of Microsoft Windows Vista) that Steve upgraded from Windows 2000 to XP, and as we share so much data between us it felt quite important to finally nail this problem.

We’d done the usual things:

  • Made sure that printer and file sharing was switched on
  • Checked firewall settings
  • Ensured that we were on the same workgroup

“That’s really odd,” I said. “Why can you see my PC and connect to it but I can’t see or connect to yours on the network?”

And then I remembered that I’d said that very same thing about my newly installed laptop back in the autumn and the problem had been to do with network node types. (Of course!)

Were we using two different (and presumably incompatible) node types? A quick trip to the Command Prompt (Start > Run…, then CMD) and ipconfig /all gave us the answer we needed: yes. Steve’s PC had “Peer to Peer” while mine said “Hybrid”.

Here’s what we did to change Steve’s PC to “Hybrid” which solved the problem:

Windows XP: Changing Network Node Type

If you want to explicitly configure the Node Type:

  1. Run the registry editor and open this key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Netbt\Parameters
  2. Delete the DhcpNodeType value if it’s present.
  3. If the NodeType value isn’t present, create it using type: DWORD.
  4. Set NodeType to 1 (Broadcast), 4 (Mixed), or 8 (Hybrid).

For details, see this Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

A quick reboot (or simply disable the “Local Area Connection” in Control Panel > Network Connections, and then re-enable it) and all was fixed.

(This post is as much for my own reference in the future as to help others.)

Update (Windows 7)

Wednesday 28 October 2009

This has just solved an issue I had with Windows 7 not showing my XP machine in its Network folder.

15 thoughts on “Troubleshooting networks: changing node type

  1. Pingback: View from the Potting Shed » Blog Archive » Social networks | The weblog of Gareth J M Saunders

  2. After searching the for a few hours I was glad I came to your small corner of the net. This post solved an issue I was having linking up a second computer to a NAS device (D-Link DNS-320 or ‘Sharescentre Pulse’). The first computer (HP G62) played ball but the second (HP G6) was having none of it. I ran ipconfig/all and found the node type was ‘peer-peer’ – not the most versatile setup I hear. After deleting said reg key, I restarted the second comp and ran ipconfig/all again to see it had changed to ‘hybrid’. Now both comps can communicate with the NAS device with ease. Ta much for the informative post!

  3. I have this issue and have been messing with it all day I have tried your fix, but my node type is still unknown. According to MS the NodeType=8 should override DHCPNodeType but I deleted that key anyway, it was recreated on reboot however.

  4. Three of my XP machines suddenly “disappeared” and I didn’t know why. Followed the advice above and now I can “see” them from the rest of my network which is Win 7 based. Most useful thank you.

  5. Thank you! I have been trying to get my one Windows 7 Computer to view all computers (XP and Windows 7) computers on my network for WEEKS now and This fix worked like a charm! Thank you!!!!!!! You have saved my sanity!!!!

  6. I am having the same issue however my node type is already Hybrid. I have one of my retail stores that are in a WorkGroup and my Windows 7 machines cant browse to shares on the XP machine by hostname \\machinename\share. I get an error saying the network name cannot be found. If I browse by IP address \\10.12.37.48\share it works as normal. I have read hundreds of article with people having the same issue with multiple resolutions and none seem to work. Each one of my stores communicate with each other internally through a local router.
    Any help is appreciated

    Thanks

    • I’m sorry, I don’t know what the issue might be — I simply posted what worked for me at the time. I’m now running one Windows 8 machine and a Windows 7 machine and everything’s working fine with that setup.

      Anyone else have an answer/suggestion?

      • Angelo I have been having this issue for years now on one system that I have even reloaded and changed the NIC on. I think it is an oddball piece of software that causes it, but can’t prove it. Easiest solution have found to fix it is a windows system restore back to when it was working.

        • Thank you all for the responses. Its with great pleasure to say that changing the DHCP Node type to “8″ or “Hybrid” if you will in the registry did work. As it turned out I was focusing my efforts into the Win 7 terminal when in fact I had to make the change on the XP Main terminal in our store. Odd setup we have but I am glad its all working now. Thanks for the original post and all others..
          Take care

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