Almost all my home computer equipment is composed of Apple products, save for the Windows media center that I’m using to power the TV/display old TV shows/movies/listen to the radio. I’ve been using Windows Vista to power the ‘center until (very!) recently, and for the past two or three weeks have had my Time Capsule and attached AirPort Disk vanish from the network every couple of hours. Given that a lot of my movies and TV shows are on the AirPort Disk, this has been a real problem. Despite the drops, the router-element of the Time Capsule continued to work – I could browse the ‘net, and even run my automated backups using Time Machine, though I couldn’t actually access the data on the Time Capsule!
At first I assumed that the problem was a Windows Vista-related issue. I’d had other issues getting everything set up, and third-parties had mucked around with the media center while I was gallivanting around Ontario a few weeks ago. The only time that the router (and AirPort Disk) become unresponsive was when I used Vista to connect to the AirPort Disk. No issues arose when just browsing the AirPort Disk using a Mac (note: all Macs in the house are running 10.5.7).
I installed Windows 7 (RC), in the hopes that this would get around whatever problems ‘Vista’ was causing. Installing Windows 7 was a breeze, and it was a snap to both find and connect to the Time Capsule and associated Airport Disk. Things were great!
Except that I kept experiencing network drops after rebooting the media center for the first time …
Taking a step back, I decided that it was either Vista/Windows 7 that was at the heart of my issues (and I was still entertaining that possibility), or some other element of my home network was driving me insane. I recalled that I recently updated the firmware on the Time Capsule; I had been using version 7.3.2, but just before I left for Ontario I updated the firmware to version 7.4.1, and then 7.4.2. I hadn’t been experiencing these problems when running 7.3.2.
I returned the Time Capsule to version 7.3.2, and lo and behold, it seems to have resolved the network drops. I mapped the AirPort Disks in Windows 7 by entering the IP of the router, followed by the name of the AirPort disk. The drives are set to automatically reconnect with the supplied credentials whenever the computer is turned on. I’m now able to watch TV shows using my tuner and accessing the AirPort Disk, as well as enjoy my movies, music, and listen to the radio without headaches!