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Problems with 'Preparing network connections…' screen

I'm having problems with Windows 2000 Professional. When the Preparing networking connections... screen comes up at startup, I hear the floppy drive being accessed. After the screen has disappeared, the logon screen appears, but an egg timer prevents anything from happening for around 5-15 seconds.

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I have a home network running, with the machine in question, acting as a server, purely to share the broadband connection. The LAN adapter is set to have static IP of 192.168.0.1, and the subnet mask of 255.255.255.0. DHCP is not enabled, but NetBIOS is enabled over the LAN connection.

I originally thought the problem had to do with Norton Internet Security 2004 being installed. However, after disabling Norton and rebooting, whilst the time to logon was blazingly fast, I still had the same annoying delay from the Preparing network connections... screen.

Other information:

I have Service Pack 4 installed, IIS 5, the .NET framework and Visual Studio .NET. The system is fully patched (that includes Norton, even with the unlisted LiveUpdate download). Could you possibly shed some light on an issue I've been trying to resolve for 7 days? Thanks in advance.
Windows 2000 is most likely trying to determine and establish connections with the other workstations on your network. Try turning off NETBios and using a HOSTS file instead to resolve computer names and IP addresses on your network.

This was first published in September 2004

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