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December 2004 Reader Challenge

November 2004 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our November Reader Challenge, who won copies of Windows Server Undocumented Solutions: Beyond the Knowledge Base, by Serdar Yegulalp (McGraw-Hill Publishing). First prize goes to Steve Jacobs of West Orange, New Jersey, and second prize goes to Edward Braiter of Montreal, Quebec. Visit to read the answer to the November Reader Challenge.

December 2004 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Windows Client challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by December 22, 2004. You must include your full name and street mailing address (without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win).

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for a receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on December 23, 2004.

The December 2004 Challenge:

During the research for one of my books ("Home Networking Annoyances"), the publisher (O'Reilly Publishing) opened a forum for user questions and complaints to provide fodder for the book. The book presents the questions, and, of course, provides answers and solutions. In this month's Challenge, I present a couple of the questions I found on the forum. I answered them; can you?

My laptop settings show two LAN connections (network adapters). The properties are identical. I only own one adapter. Why does my laptop show two?


Your laptop shows two identical adapters because you don't use the same PC-card slot every time you insert your network adapter. Windows sees each slot as a unique device and keeps information on devices even after you've removed them from the computer. At any given moment, one of those connections is showing an error for the adapter that Windows thinks should be in the slot that you're not currently using. If the adapter is for a wired network, the error says the cable is unplugged. For a wireless network, the error says no signal can be found. You can ignore the error, and ignore the fact that your computer has two connections, without harm. If it really bothers you, decide once and for all which slot you want to use for your PC Card and remember to use only that slot. Then, disable or remove the other LAN connection.

I added a new computer to my network, but it didn't appear in My Network Places or Network Neighborhood on any of my other computers. I know the cabling and the network settings are correct. One person told me I have to reboot all the computers on the network in order to see a new computer, but someone else told me to wait a little while and the computer would show up. Both solutions worked, so what's going on?


The icons in the network windows are controlled by a Windows service called the Computer Browser Service. This service browses the network, peering down the pipes (including the virtual pipes of wireless connections) and checking to see who's on board. The service runs every 12 minutes or when the computer is started.

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