Why Won’t My MacBook Auto-Detect Windows 7 PCs in My Network?

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I used to run Windows XP on my computers. When I would use my MacBook, it would automatically show the computers in the left pane in Finder. Clicking on these would show me their network shares. I upgraded the computers to Windows 7 by reformatting, and now my MacBook won’t do this. I can still connect to the computers using CMD + K but I kind of appreciated the ability for my Mac to auto-detect the computers.

I am wondering if anyone else is experiencing this. My computers are configured not to require a password to access the shares, and like I said everything works perfectly fine when I manually connect to them. A few months ago I searched for a solution, but the best I could come up with was something along the lines of adding the network shares to the start up list. I don’t think this is a proper solution; what if I’m not at home where my computers with those shares are?

I imagined it had something to do with Bonjour, but both computers have iTunes installed which installs this Bonjour service. Bonjour is running, it’s not what’s creating this issue from what I can tell.

The workgroup name is MSHOME, and I have already tried explicitly defining the workgroup name (Though MSHOME is the default as far as I know), and this didn’t do a thing.

I kind of gave up on it, but now that superuser is here I figured I’d ask here in case anyone might have any idea, or at least to confirm that this is happening with others.

EDIT: Can you guys please tell me if this is working for you? Or are you having the same problem? If I realize that many people seem to be having this problem, then I’ll figure it is something that is out of our reach, maybe even a bug in Windows 7; I’m running the RC, or perhaps in Mac OS X. I’m running 10.5.7. Thanks I really appreciate it.


I figured out how to make it auto detect your windows 7 computer on your macbook.
Go to the airport network preferences. Then click advanced and after that the WINS tab select your workgroup and then put in the ip address of your windows computer. This should make it auto detect your windows 7 pc.

p.s. I’m running leopard

Make sure that your Windows 7 computers have the network type set to “Home” and make sure the File and Print sharing is enabled in the firewall. In Windows 7, sharing features are disabled by default.

When I installed Windows 7 the default networking mode was not home, but something like public. This is actually a highly suspicious mode for using in caf├ęs and street corners. No services will be advertised, and and I believe most types of sharing connections will be denied. The Home and Work (or is it Office) modes trust a little more than that and actually allow others to detect the machine on the network.

You set the mode by going to the “Control Panels” > “Network and Sharing Center”. You should see the window divided in 4 parts the left margin, the top mini-map (Windows 7 -> Network -> The Internet), an active network below that, and below that, options.

If your network looks like a park bench, it is set as a public network. If you click on the “Public Network” linked text (frustratingly not the actual bench icon), you get a popup to pick a “Home Network” showing a house with a shield, or a “Work Network” showing two glass buildings with a shield.

CHI at it's best

Aren’t they just adorable those little Microsoft CHI workers. Working so hard to make little concept art pieces and burying them in some unknowable location?

Did you create a Home Group on Windows 7? And let your MacBook join that?

If you Mac has trouble joining it, try this:

  • Goto Start Menu
  • Search for: seclpol
  • Hit Enter
  • Goto Local Policies> Security Options
  • Double Click on Network security: LAN Manager Authentication
  • Change level to: Send LM # LTLM Responses
  • Then Goto Network security: Minimum session security for NTLM SSP
  • De-select Require 128-bit encryption
  • Hit OK

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