Eliminating Domain Browsing Errors
Last Updated: 30 Oct 2005
*** PLEASE NOTE: Link(s), If Provided, May Be Wrapped ***
One of the more common problems experienced on Microsoft
networks involve the Computer Browser service and viewing
resources on in Network Neighborhood.
This is because Domain Browsing does not work quite the
way Microsoft states that it should. For instance, on
any given network, your domain controller should never
lose an election to a Win9x machine, but all too often,
this is the case. It would appear that Brower Elections
are just as potentially corrupt as political elections.
Browsing problems manifest themselves in several ways.
For one thing, various clients will not be able to get
a complete list of the machines in their domain or
workgroup. This can have an adverse impact on numerous
applications that use the browser list to find the
systems they need to operate against.
The role of the Computer Browser service is to allow
the client involved to provide a Browse List for other
clients within the domain. Experience suggests that
the best course of action is to simply turn off this
service on all workstations, and all servers that are
not Domain Controllers, WINS servers, or running RAS.
NOTE: You will need at least two boxes on each subnet
that are able to handle the browse list for that
subnet, so if you have any subnets that only have
client systems on them, you'll have to make an
exception to the above guidance -- only on those
The proper installation of WINS, along with the
reduction of unnecessary Browse Masters, will go a long
way to resolving all sorts of NETBIOS resolution errors
and performance issues with the Windows-based systems
and services on your network.
Problems can occur with the domain browsing when multi-
homed systems are involved. You can use the following
tools to diagnose browser issues:
• BROWSTAT ............... Resource Kit (and Support Tools)
• BROWMON ................ Resource Kit
• NLMON .................. Resource Kit (and Support Tools)
Additionally, here are some common issues when browsing
Win9x boxes (which we hope you no longer have!) from a
Windows 2000 machine:
For Win9x/ME machines, browsing is disabled in Network
Control Panel applet, under TCP/IP properties.
For NT/2000/XP/2003 systems, you can disable the
Computer Browser service with the following script:
*** Requires NT4 or higher PLUS Server ResKit ***
SC \\%1 CONFIG %@SERVICE% START= disabled
SC \\%1 STOP %@SERVICE%
Other services which make good candidates for being
• BROWSER ................ Except for DCs & WINS Servers
• SPOOLER ................ Except for Print Servers
• CISVC .................. Except for Search/Indexing Servers
• WZCSVC ................. Except for Wireless Machines
• DNS CLIENT ............. Any Machine
• SSDPSRV ................ Any Workstation
WHITEPAPERS & TECH DOCUMENTS
ADDITIONAL SEARCH OPTIONS (MS KB)
EXACT PHRASE ........... "Computer Browser"
EXACT PHRASE ........... "Domain Browsing"
ALL WORDS .............. "LMHOSTS 15 characters"
ALL WORDS .............. "Network Neighborhood Browsing"
• Although there are KB articles which indicate that
you can alter the registry to prevent the browser
service from doing its thing, this results in an
Eventlog message, and you end up with a running
service that is serving no purpose. Disabling it
is much more effective...
• For troubleshooting, BROWSTAT (CLI) is generally
more accurate than BROWMON (GUI)
• Beware of issues with Dual-Homed machines running
WINS or performing Browse Master duties.
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