Restoring SMB sharing on XP

A couple months ago, my brother’s PC suddenly stopped sharing files via SMB (port 445). Since my brother told me he hasn’t done anything, I was a bit mystified as to what exactly is going on.

Initially I though it was a firewall problem – so I checked the firewall config and tried to access the share from localhost (on his PC), which failed as if nothing is shared (i.e. "net view \127.0.0.1" just times out). I then tried "netstat -an" to see if the SMB server is actually listening for a connection, and it turns out nothing is listening on port 445!

A restart of lanmanserver and lanmanworkstation (services) and a reboot didn’t help, so in a last ditch attempt to get something shared I enabled NetBIOS over TCP/IP, which seems to have done the trick (i.e. I can now access the shares). However, port 445 is still no where to be seen in "netstat -an"…

After a lot of searching on Google, I found this article which more less describes the problem I’ve been having.

After turning off NetBT, applying the registry fix (adding HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesNetBTParameters:SmbDeviceEnabled = 1) and rebooting (I had also re-installed "File and Printer sharing" at the time), the shares were now accessible again via port 445.

Unfortunately, I never got to the bottom of what caused this problem – seeing it wasn’t simply a missing registry value, as all my other systems don’t have the SmbDeviceEnabled value. But I guess I can consider this one being resolved via a work-around as sharing is back to normal…