We have three workstations setup in our small office space all running Windows XP Professional SP3 and all are networked together. We recently moved offices, while still maintaining the same ISP (Qwest); however, since moving into the new space all of the workstations are habitually having issues with populating and opening Network Places. The first time Network Places is opened on a workstation it will eventually populate (albeit after an inordinate amount of time, something that has also never occurred). However upon each subsequent attempt at opening Network Places the explorer interface will simply not engage, acting as if it's already actively opened (which it is not).
Strangely enough there are absolute no issues in viewing the network when attaching or saving a file (i.e. when using the interface prompted to attach a file using Gmail or when saving a document in MS Word). Furthermore if you are enter the absolute network path of a computer (or even a file for that matter) on the network (i.e. \\WRServer) through the explorer address bar, you are immediately navigated to it without any hesitation or lag.
Currently the only work around for quick and easy access is to setup a variety of shortcuts to the network paths that are most regularly used, but this is a rather dirty fix. Does anyone have any suggestion? I've been unable to find a single resource online that indicates a solution to this perplexing problem.
If you're not using IP reservations on your router, you should implement them so each machine receives the same DHCP assignment every time.
Then, I suggest creating LMHOSTS files on each machine identifying all with their IP addresses.
into an explorer window and hit enter. You should find lmhosts.sam already there.
Open that sample file in notepad and enter the IP address, tab, machine name for each work station in your LAN, as noted in its instructions, delete everything else, then save it as "lmhosts" (with the quotes, otherwise notepad will append .txt or keep the same .sam extension, overwriting your sample). When you finish, lmhosts.sam should still exist along with your lmhosts file, for future reference.
Copy your new lmhosts file to all 3 machines in their %windir%\system32\drivers\etc subdirs.
That should help the browser service find its way around faster.