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Why have I got a phone on my Windows Network page?


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Old 03-01-2013, 17:54
karma mechanic
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In File Explorer in Windows 8, i.e. what used to be 'My Computer', I've got the usual devices showing.

If I open the Network page I get an unexpected device - a Samsung Galaxy S3. I don't have one of those.

My own phone is a Galaxy Note, and that connects to my network via wifi using WPA2-Personal. It doesn't show up as a connected device in the Network page, and nor does my son's Iphone.

I noticed the spurious phone entry this morning - it is there some of the time and if you refresh the view it comes and goes. This is what that page looks like when the phone is showing (I've blurred a couple of things for privacy):

Network list

This is what I get when I look at the properties page for the device:

Phone Details

So after a bit of refreshing the list I started up a different laptop and that has the same entry. Again it comes and goes.

This afternoon a different phone device appeared on both laptops, an HTC One X+.

HTC Details


So, I've double-checked the network security. The router is running with a long password in WPA2, the logs on the router show no trace of those MAC addresses ever being recorded. Bluetooth is off on both laptops. Nobody has physically plugged anything in to either laptop. I can see what the router thinks are the devices connected, and neither of these two devices are there. Except in the Windows view of the network...

So why have I got a phone showing up in the Windows File Explorer Network page?

Ideas please!

P.S. neither phone is showing at the moment, and with luck it will stay that way. However, I'd be interested in how this came about.
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Old 03-01-2013, 18:02
REDBUS
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may be a next door neighbors phone(s) that's connecting to their own laptop via wi-fi ,and your laptop is just picking up signal ,as long as your password connected all is fine ,don't know much about mobile phones/wi-fi TBH but sure this is common with laptops ect.

My 2 brothers rougher's can see their neighbors laptops and devices & vica/verca ,nothing to worry about as long as you have good long password and not left on default like a lot of people do .
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Old 03-01-2013, 18:14
Orbitalzone
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Seems you're not alone!
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/w...9-98367cefbfde
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Old 03-01-2013, 18:16
karma mechanic
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may be a next door neighbors phone(s) that's connecting to their own laptop via wi-fi ,don't know much about phones but sure this is common
I did ask next door. Their daughters were there a bit before Christmas, one has an S3 and the other has an HTC One. Is this the smoking gun?

The MAC address of the daughter's S3 starts 20:64:32 so it doesn't actually match Don't know the actual MAC address of the HTC yet.

And I still can't figure out how this has happened.
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Old 03-01-2013, 18:16
albertd
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may be a next door neighbors phone(s) that's connecting to their own laptop via wi-fi ,don't know much about phones but sure this is common
Presumably you are talking about "tethering" whereby a phone's connection (maybe by 3G) can act as a router for a computer.
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Old 03-01-2013, 18:18
karma mechanic
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Thanks - not sure that really shows what happens, but interesting!
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Old 03-01-2013, 18:21
REDBUS
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Presumably you are talking about "tethering" whereby a phone's connection (maybe by 3G) can act as a router for a computer.

I think so ,i think people use wi-fi to connect their phones to roughter's also for better online speeds also IIRC
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Old 03-01-2013, 18:23
REDBUS
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I did ask next door. Their daughters were there a bit before Christmas, one has an S3 and the other has an HTC One. Is this the smoking gun?

very likely the answer .
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Old 03-01-2013, 18:26
karma mechanic
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I did ask next door. Their daughters were there a bit before Christmas, one has an S3 and the other has an HTC One. Is this the smoking gun?

very likely the answer .
Yes, it seems to fit so well. The actual MAC address of the S3 is different from the one shown in the properties, but to get two random phones that match this case is so unlikely.

Different networks, both very secure, and neither candidate phone has been in the area since mid December. So something else is remembering them. Wrongly as well if the MAC address is anything to go by.


***Edited to add**

Just got another one - a Nexus 4:

Occam
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Old 03-01-2013, 19:00
darkknight77
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Change your wifi password.
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Old 03-01-2013, 19:09
karma mechanic
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Change your wifi password.
I might get to that stage, but at the moment I can see no evidence that they are 'real' devices, and the router has no trace of them.
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Old 03-01-2013, 21:06
karma mechanic
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I've changed the wireless password now. Then i went round changing it on various laptops, my phone, etc.

Then I viewed the network and the most recent spurious phone showed up. Its MAC address doesn't look right for a Nexus phone though, the first 24 bits usually identify the manufacturer.

Something very fishy here - I'm getting phones that are almost certainly defined to somebody else's network showing up on mine with what are probably corrupted MAC addresses.
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Old 03-01-2013, 21:32
Orbitalzone
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You don't use powerline network adaptors do you? (the mains plug network extensions)
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Old 03-01-2013, 21:54
karma mechanic
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You don't use powerline network adaptors do you? (the mains plug network extensions)
Yes, got one. One end is always on, the other end is only switched on as required. Worth investigating!

**Added**

I switched it all off, and after about 30 seconds the Nexus 4 dropped off the page. I then refreshed it for a couple of minutes and the Nexus 4 is back in the list
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Old 03-01-2013, 22:15
LION8TIGER
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I would have thought that you would have to be on the same electrical circuit as the neighbours for it to be a problem but I don't have any so am guessing.
Some info here may be worth a try anyway ?
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Old 03-01-2013, 22:30
whoever,hey
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Wow, i'm never touching powerline network adaptors!
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Old 03-01-2013, 22:45
Orbitalzone
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Yes, got one. One end is always on, the other end is only switched on as required. Worth investigating!

**Added**

I switched it all off, and after about 30 seconds the Nexus 4 dropped off the page. I then refreshed it for a couple of minutes and the Nexus 4 is back in the list

Hmmm so did I solve the mystery!

While your neighbour shouldn't pick up your powerline network (assuming they also have them) I can see it could happen if you're on the same circuit/phase and close by..... I don't see that a fusebox/MCB would stop signals going out beyond your wiring (but I don't know for sure)

Should be easy to prove/disprove by turning off the powerline network adaptors and see what happens... in the same way you can disable wireless and see what happens..... if it still appears when only a wired network is in operation then you've either got another wifi access point somewhere, ghosts or a cat5 going to a neighbour!

Powerline networking has encryption, probably best to activate it.
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Old 03-01-2013, 22:52
Orbitalzone
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http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...ine-Networking would suggest it's possible under certain conditions.
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Old 03-01-2013, 22:55
karma mechanic
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Hmmm so did I solve the mystery!
No, what I meant was that I refreshed the network view a few times and the Nexus 4 came back. The Powerline stuff is all physically switched off at the moment. I've checked and the Netgear ones do use encryption, so as a vector for unauthorised access they should be fine.

I'm stumped. Tomorrow I think I'll talk to Mr Next Door to see if his own phone is a Nexus 4. If that's the case then there's more that can be investigated, especially if the MAC address isn't what's being reported by my own network.
And I need to try and fix the washing machine too
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Old 03-01-2013, 23:30
LION8TIGER
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Did you try switching off wireless as in post #17 ?
It has to be some sort of wireless problem doesn't it .

You have disconnected the powerline adapters and changed your wireless password .... I'm as stumped as you.
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Old 04-01-2013, 00:00
karma mechanic
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I tried disabling wireless a few minutes ago. The Nexus 4 stayed in the list for a minute or so, then dropped.

Then I restarted wireless and it hasn't come back (yet).

So Windows can see it even though the wireless password was changed earlier, but it can't see it with wireless off completely. Although that raises more questions it does seem logical. Setting wireless back on seems to reset the router so maybe that's why it is absent at the moment.



What I don't know is what makes these phones appear in the list, especially when the first two were used next door no later than mid-December. It suggests that Windows is keeping an entry for something that is long-gone.

What i do know is that these spurious devices aren't actually connecting using WPA2 - and the router can't see them.

I'm off to bed, perplexed...
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Old 04-01-2013, 00:15
LION8TIGER
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When our internet went down a couple of years ago my daughter got the wireless key from the neighbour's router with permission. When ours was fixed she kept shouting up 'dad hows the internet' ..... she was still connecting to next door, a poorer connection . I changed it to ours but on reboot would pick up theirs. After removing their connection from the list all was fine.
Any sons or daughters in the house who may have done the same thing the other way around ..... but you changed the password .
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:18
karma mechanic
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Yes, a phone showed up after I changed the wireless password.

Next door does have a Nexus 7 (not a 4) so that's an HTC, a Samsung S3 and a sort of Nexus that have showed up in the network list in Windows. However, the HTC and the S3 were owned by visitors next door in early December and certainly haven't been physically around since then. It was around that time that I installed Windows 8 on both these machines.

What we don't know is what Windows actually queries in order to make it put such a spurious device in the list. The MAC addresses are completely different but the device types seem too much of a coincidence.

I saw something about ipv6-capable devices responding and confusing stuff so that they appear as spurious devices.

Anyway, I wondered whether something odd is being remembered by the router after failed connection attempts, since a visitor next door might well have tried to connect to my network. On that basis I just did a factory-reset of the D-Link router and then set it up the same as before. No spurious devices at the moment.



**Edit**
B*gger. New device just popped up: a TI Blaze tablet
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:06
karma mechanic
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After a lot of tearing out of hair and perplexity I finally found some references to the exact same problem here on the Windows 8 forums

It looks like something Windows is making up, or maybe it really is devices connected on nearby networks - nobody knows yet.
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