Frustrated reader Dave says he hates Windows networking. He writes in:
Windows Networking is a huge pain in the arse. It defeats its entire purpose: easily moving files around. I don't think I've ever set up a network easily, without a lot of trial and error and thrashing about various wizard screens. Windows Networking often requests a USB flash drive to copy/paste Networking settings, policies, and password on a router or other machines. What if your router has no USB port? You're stuck keying in a bunch of stuff and praying it works. I hate how network places spontaneously disappear from My Network Places. I'm often forced to re-add network places, especially FTP servers.
I'm running a second desktop using Ubuntu. My file sharing is run through WinXP and Samba. I find that Windows doesn't always play friendly; one day I can drag/drop files to the Ubuntu machine as if it were another folder on the C: drive and the next (with or without WinXP reboot), I can't get in without a reboot of the XP machine.
As someone who, coincidentally, spent the morning fighting to restore a previously-working FireWire connection between my Mac and PC, I'm feelin' Dave's pain, especially when Microsoft's own troubleshooting strategies failed miserably. Anyone out there have any advice or techniques that helps make Windows networking happen more smoothly? Or are we just stuck waiting around for Windows 7 and hoping for the best? Tell us your tricks in the comments.