Perhaps the biggest problem with a peer-to-peer network is finding that a computer or printer has suddenly gone missing. Here are some things to check for finding wayward network PCs and printers.

  • Check to ensure that the PC is turned on. A computer that’s turned off cannot be accessed — don’t let that surprise you!

  • Computers that are hibernating, in Stand By mode or Sleep mode, cannot be accessed on the network.

  • Likewise, a shared printer connected to a snoozing PC cannot be used.

  • Conversely, you can use a computer that is on but no one is logged in to.

  • You can, however, access a computer where only the monitor is sleeping.

  • Check the firewall on your PC to ensure that local network traffic is allowed.

  • Check the workgroup name. The computer may not show up in the workgroup window, specifically on Windows XP, when it’s using a different workgroup name.

  • Confirm that the computer’s user hasn’t discontinued sharing that folder.

  • Check the other computer to ensure that it doesn’t have an IP conflict.

  • Check a Windows 7 or Vista PC to ensure that all sharing options are properly set.

If all these solutions fail, consider restarting your PC. And if that fails, restart the network.