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Last Updated December 16, 2003

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Microsoft Computer Browser Service

Microsoft Active Directory services in Windows 2000 replace the computer browser service used in earlier versions of Windows to provide the network basic input/output system (NetBIOS) name resolution. The browser service in Windows 2000 is provided for backwards compatibility with client computers that are running earlier versions of Windows. The primary function of the browser service is to provide a list of computers sharing resources in a client's domain along with a list of other domain and workgroup names across the wide-area network (WAN). This list is provided to clients that view network resources with Network Neighborhood or the NET VIEW command.

Where to Start....
Description of the Microsoft Computer Browser Service
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 188001 - Microsoft Active Directory services in Windows 2000 replace the computer browser service used in earlier versions of Windows to provide the network basic input/output system (NetBIOS) name resolution. The browser service in Windows 2000 is provided for backwards compatibility with client computers that are running earlier versions of Windows

Symptoms of Multihomed Browsers
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 191611 - The computer browser service was first introduced in Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.1. The purpose of the browser service is to collect and report the existence of other computers on the network that are sharing file, print, and other resources. The browser service greatly reduces the number of server announcements on a network, and it reduces the overhead of every network client and server because clients and servers do not have to maintain their own list of server resources 

Windows 95 Can Share the Windows NT Domain Browse List
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 148527 - The Windows 95 browser service has the capability to act as a subnet master browser for a domain, in a routed TCP/IP network. This effectively means that a Windows 95 computer can behave like a Windows NT computer in that it will share the local subnet browse list with the Windows NT Domain Master Browser (DMB). Note the Windows NT DMB is also the Primary Domain Controller (PDC) 

How to Articles
Domain Browsing with TCP/IP and LMHOSTS Files
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 150800 - In TCP/IP-based networks involving routers and multiple segments, it is generally recommended that you implement WINS for name resolution and browsing support. However, as an alternative to WINS, it is possible to have full domain browsing by using only LMHOSTS files on all computers, although there are some limitations that will be discussed in this article. 

How to Support Browse Lists for Multiple Domains
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 191388 - This article describes how to configure Windows NT Server so it provides Network Basic Input/Output System (NetBIOS) browse list functionality for multiple domains. 

Troubleshooting Articles: Know Bugs and Issues
Troubleshooting the Microsoft Computer Browser Service
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 188305 - While there is no centralized method to determine if the browse list across the WAN is complete, there are techniques to determine if the servers on a particular segment are represented in the browse list on a remote segment. techniques can be applied on all segments throughout the WAN. But the results of these tests can change due to the roles of the servers changing when browser elections occur. Only if all the servers in a domain throughout the WAN are completely static, and no servers come online or offline, will the results of these tests have meaning over time

Browse List Problems When File and Print Sharing Is Not Installed
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 254527 - Under the following conditions, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms: When you double-click My Network Places in Windows 2000, an incomplete browse list may be displayed OR Computers that do not have File and Print Sharing enabled do not appear in the browse list OR If a Windows 2000 domain controller has File and Print Sharing disabled, Windows 2000-based computers that try to use the browse list receive the following Event ID 8032 error message: The browser service has failed to retrieve the backup list too many times on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_{XXXXXXX-9F03-42B2-AB84-12EEEFD572E9}. The backup browser is stopping  

Client Cannot Find New System When NetBIOS Name Is Removed and Reregistered
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 262963 - The NetBIOS functionality enables client computers to register more than one NetBIOS name. If the NetBIOS name is unregistered by one system, and then registered by another system, the Windows 2000-based client does not find the new system that registered the name if the Windows 2000-based client has already resolved the NetBIOS name. 

Error Message: The Browser Was Unable to Retrieve a List of Domains From the Browser Master...
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 227419 - In a complete workgroup environment, you may receive the following error message in Event Viewer: The browser was unable to retrieve a list of domains from the browser master \\server on the network \Device\Nbf_device number. The data is the error code 

Error Message: Unable to Browse the Selected Domain Because the Following Error Occurred...
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 257942 - When you are trying to add users from a Windows 2000-based domain to an access control list (ACL) or group on a Windows NT 4.0-based system, the list of users may not be enumerated and you may receive the following error message: Unable to browse the selected domain because the following error occurred: Access is denied.

Malicious User Can Shut Down Computer Browser Service
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 262694 - Microsoft has identified a vulnerability in the computer browser protocol ResetBrowser frame that could allow a malicious user to shut down a computer browser on the same subnet, or shut down all of the computers browsers on the same subnet

Multihomed Issues with Windows NT
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 181774 - Adding additional network interface cards in a computer running Windows NT Server requires that several issues be considered. To better manage these issues and to increase the reliability of mission critical systems, a reduction in services that are running on the system should be considered. Many of the services running on a mission-critical computer such as the primary domain controller can be off-loaded to other computer to increase reliability.

NetBIOS Browse List May Not Contain all Domains in a Windows 2000 Environment
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 280374 - When two or more Microsoft Windows 2000 domains cross multiple subnets, a NetBIOS browse list may be absent one of the domains. 

Slow Computer Browsing from Multihomed Clients
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 288801 - With certain multihomed or multiple-transport configurations, computer browsing can be slow. This behavior may be normal. 


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