by: Helge, published: May 5, 2011, updated: Sep 6, 2011, in

The Unmanageable File Server

I had an interesting little case to solve at home recently when my headless file server suddenly would not accept RDP connections any more. It still worked flawlessly as a file server, so I ignored the problem for a while.

The issue became urgent when I wanted to run the backup program installed on the machine (which I do manually every month or so). With the machine being headless after the monitor had broken down my only connection to its desktop was via RDP. But mstsc.exe refused to connect…

I tried various simple troubleshooting steps, like connecting event viewer remotely or directing the services MMC to the other machine, but neither worked. Funnily enough, the computer was reachable via SMB all the time. Very strange.

Finally, devoid of other options, I persuaded my wife to borrow me her LCD TV and connected that to the computer. As soon as I logged on, I saw this:

After I clicked on “Home network” the problems were gone and the file server was reachable again. What a simple yet effective remedy!

What had caused this? I remembered that I had replaced the router/switch the server was connected to. Such a change is interpreted as a network location change by the OS, and modern versions of Windows ask politely if the current network is secure (home/work) or not (public). Until that question is answered, the firewall blocks (nearly) all connections…

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