Networked computers can't see 2 of my Macs

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by flyersgl, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
    I am wondering if anyone can help me with this network problem which has tortured me since I bought an iMac earlier this year, and only got worse this week when I set up a new (refurb) Mac mini. I cannot get all 5 of my computers to see each other on my home network. I have posted specific computer-by-computer detail below, but the basic problem seems to be that my computers cannot see the new Mac Mini or my old Macbook. I am still a bit of a Mac newbie, so I am wondering if I am overlooking something obvious. I have tried manually connecting the macs together by entering the ip address but that does not seem to work. If anyone has any ideas, they would be much appreciated. All of the Macs run Snow Leopard now, though the problem started when the iMac and Macbook still had Leopard.

    Specific info:

    5 computers

    2006 Macbook
    early 2009 iMac
    early 2009 Mac Mini
    2006 PC laptop (running XP)
    2009 Dell mini netbook (running XP)

    Dell mini can see the iMac and PC laptop
    Macbook and Mac Mini can see the iMac, PC laptop and Dell mini
    iMac can see the PC laptop and Dell mini
    PC laptop can see the iMac and Dell mini
    Dell mini can see the PC laptop and iMac

    *Also, the new Mac Mini replaced a HP desktop (running Vista), which could see the iMac, PC laptop and Dell Mini--the iMac was unable to see the HP, but the two Windows based machines could.
  2. macrumors demi-god


    Oct 16, 2006
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
  4. macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Please describe or diagram your network topology. Include all switches, hubs, routers, cable modems, DSL modems, wiring runs, patch panels, etc.

    Also identify how each computer is connected to the network: wireless or wired, speed (10, 100, 1000), etc.

    Finally, have you used Network and its Ping tab to test whether the addressed host responds to pings or not? Network Utility is a standard Apple app, located in /Applications/Utilities/.

    Can the Macbook and Mac mini see each other?
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
    The Macbook and Mini cannot see each other.

    I will do my best to describe set-up:

    Linksys cable modem connected to--
    Belkin wireless N router

    iMac is connected to router by ethernet cable
    All other machines are connected via wireless
    (The previous HP was connected by ethernet)

    Wireless network is presently unsecured, as I was trying to get everyone to communicate prior to locking it down.

    All computers have access to internet, no issues with that.

    I have not tried network utilities at all. (Presently not home to try it).
  6. macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
  7. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
    modem--linksys BEFCMU10

    router--Belkin Part # F5D8233-4
  8. macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Since you have two routers are the PCs and the Macs on the same router, in the same subnet?
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
  10. macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Please describe exactly what program you're using to determine whether one computer can or can't see another.

    In this list:
    The first and last items are logically identical, so the last item is redundant.

    What were the results of the ping test?

    Are there any other nearby wireless networks, which might be open (unsecured) and the Macbook or Mac mini might be automatically connecting to?

    When you say all 5 computers are using DHCP, what is assigning the DHCP addresses? Is it your router, or your cable modem, or does your cable company assign you some static addresses, or is there a DHCP server upstream from your cable modem? To find out, use the Network pane of System Preferences to see the Router address.

    Things to try.

    1. What does Bonjour Browser show? Run it on each Mac and compare the results. Enable screen-sharing on each Mac (or disable then re-enable) and see what changes, if anything.

    2. Does the whatismyip website show the same IP address for all 5 computers? If not, are they all addresses assigned to you?

    3. On either the Macbook or Mac mini, disable wireless, enable ethernet, and connect it to the router with an ethernet cable. Does this change the visibility of this computer relative to the trio that can all see each other? From your description, the trio of mutual visibility is iMac, PC laptop, Dell mini.

    4. On either the Macbook or Mac mini, temporarily disable the firewall. System Preferences > Security > Firewall, then click the Allow all incoming connections radio button (Leopard), or click Stop after unlocking the pane (Snow Leopard).

    Things to compare, and even consider posting.

    On each of the 3 Macs, launch, then enter or paste the following command-line:
    This command lists a number of networking parameters, for every known (active or inactive) network interface. If you know something about networking, make sure all active interfaces are on the same subnet with the same subnet mask.
  11. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
    Thanks for continuing to try to help. Obviously, I am not that savvy with networks. To answer a few questions--

    The computers can't see each other on the sidebar (even when I attempt a manual connection). On the PCs, they don't show up as networked computers.

    I could not figure out what to enter on the ping test, so I did not perform.

    No other unsecured networks are in range.

    I believe the router is setting the DHCP, but wasn't sure how to tell for sure--they all have the same router address.

    1. Bonjour Browser showed exact same services for all 3 Macs. I did not enable/disable screen sharing as it seemed to require iChat set up, which I haven't done and wouldn't otherwise be inclined to.

    2. same ip address for all computers.

    3. connected macbook by ethernet, no change in status.

    4. all firewalls were off, turned on and off again.

    Also, I ran, and to my untrained (but not completely ignorant) eye, the primary settings seemed consistent across the Macs. I can post the results--wasn't sure if there is any part of it I should not post for security reasons.

    If nothing else jumps out at anyone, I will find a real person to come by and help me. I was hoping the solution was something really stupid I was overlooking!
  12. macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Enter the IP address of the target computer. A total of 5 pings should suffice.

    For example, in your original post, the iMac could not see the Mac mini, but the Mac mini could see the iMac. So step 1: run Network Utility on the Mac mini and enter the iMac's IP address to ping. Step 2 reverses that: run Network Utility on the iMac and enter the Mac mini's IP address to ping.

    Any computer should also be able to ping itself by entering its own IP address. It can also ping itself by entering the special self-referencing address

    What you should be looking for is the presence or absence of all 3 Macs. Did every Mac show a total of 3 Macs: itself and two others?

    If all 3 are visible from each Mac running Bonjour Browser, then the network is fundamentally working.

    The next step would be to look at the services that each Mac is providing. If a Mac is not providing a sharing service, then it won't show up in Finder's sidebar. Two things that I'm certain cause a host to appear in the sidebar are file-sharing and screen-sharing.

    Exactly what are your non-visible Macs sharing, i.e. under which services does Bonjour Browser list each computer?

    The screen sharing service is enabled and disabled on the Sharing pane of System Preferences. It should not require iChat setup, AFAIK. Can you explain or describe why you think it does?

    I wasn't asking you to use iChat to connect to any of the computers that were sharing their screens. All I wanted was to enable and disable a service that does two things: 1. show up in Bonjour Browser, 2. show up in Finder's sidebar.

    This indicates they are all on the same subnet, going through your router and cable modem. It confirms they aren't accidentally using some other wireless network.

    Given the rest of your results, the only other thing I can think of is that 'ipfw' is turned on, and is blocking something that the application firewall would let through. See the following, and consider using one of the apps to make sure ipfw isn't enabled.

    One more thing. On the computers that can't see your "missing" Macs, bring up the Finder Preferences window, choose the Sidebar icon, and make sure the "Bonjour computers" item is checked under Shared.
  13. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
    My problem is solved, though I am not quite sure why or how. I enabled screen sharing on all of the Macs and the macbook popped up, but not the mini. I then disabled file sharing (and screen sharing) on all three and re-enabled file sharing, and all the computers can now be seen by the others. It seems like "resetting" sharing did the trick, though I don't get why.

    I really appreciate your help and patience.

    Happy new year.

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