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Master browser and duplicate computer name problem

Sirak asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-23
My system one Winnt 3.51 server running on a dual pentium 166 machine with 128MB of ram. I started seeing this problem suddenly for an unexlpained reason. in the event viewer I am seeing the following errors.
a) The Master Browser has received a server announcement from the computer XXXX that believes  it is the master browser for the domain on transport Nbf_empci1. The master browser is stopping or an election is being forced. XXXX is the computers name.
b) The browser has forced an election on network \device\nwlinknb because the domain controller(or server) has changed it's role. This same message appears for \device\nbf_empci1, \device\netbt_empci1 and \device\nwlinkipx.
c) a duplicate name has been detected on the TCP network. The IP address of the machine that sent the message is in the data. Use nbtstat -n in a commane\d window to see which machine is in conflict state.
   I did  that and found out it was the servers IP address and trying to purge the cache with the nbtstat -R command did not work.  
Watch Question

Do you have any other servers on the network? Novell, NT or otherwise.

Do you have any routers (dedicated or part of a server)?

Do you have any Win95 machines acting as a server? (Novell or Microsoft networking).

Can you isolate the problem by shutting down all clients and other servers, and monitoring the event log as you bring other clients/servers online?

Here are my answers:

a)  In an Windows network, one machine is designated as the master browser.  The master browser's job is to maintain a current list of network resources.  If another Windows computer believes that it should be the master browser, it forces an election.  The election decides which machine will be the new master browser.  The winner is decided in this order:

     1. Windows NT Server/primary domain controller(PDC)
     2. Windows NT Server/backup domain controller(BDC)
     3. Windows NT Server/standalone
     4. Windows NT Workstation
     5. Windows 95
     6. Windows for Workgroups

In general, the PDC should become the master browser.  Is the machine in question the PDC?  There are some cases where a lower ranked machine gets _possessed_ and continually tries to become the master browser.  If this is the case, I can tell you how to stop it depending on what OS the machine is running.

b) If you solve problem (a), this message should go away.  If the machine you are using is not the PDC but is the master browser, and you start another machine (which is the PDC) one would expect to see that message.

c) In a TCP/IP network, each machine must have a unique IP address.  The message you are seeing is telling you that another computer on the network has the same IP address as your NT server.  To correct this problem, you must find the other machine, and make sure that its IP address is different.  Once every computer has a unique TCP/IP address, this message should go away.


The machine in question (the server) is a PDC and also the Master Browser. The other machine I designated as XXXX is a Windows 95 Pentium 166 PC which is running as a client.

As far as IP address is concerned we are using DHCP and none of the client stations have designated IP addresses.

I have powered down the XXXX pc and I still get the same error messages.

To be absolutely certain, here is how you stop a Win95 PC from trying to be the master browser:

1. Go to control panel, then network.
2. Under the 'configuration' tab, there should be an entry for 'File and printer sharing for microsoft networks'.  Highlight it, and click 'properties'
3. Highlight the 'browse master' property, and set its value to disabled.

When you powered down the XXXX pc, did you still get all three error messages?

Is the IP address in conflict always the same?  If so, shutdown that machine, and then try to ping the address in conflict.  That should tell you if another machine actually is using the same address.

If possible, try disabling DHCP and using static addresss.  Even if it is not a long-term solution, it may help you troubleshoot the problem.


When i powered down the XXXX PC and rebooted the server the error messages were still there but know refered to another pc (also WIN95) in the error message. I tried it with three other PC but it keeps changing PC.

The IP address in conflict is the IP address of the server and it is always the same ip address.


What's up? I have not heard back from you.


No response from him.
It sounds like the DHCP server is allocating the server's address to the clients.  Make sure that the server's address is not in the pool of addresses that DHCP is using.

server:  x.x.x.1   <static>
DHCP address pool:  x.x.x.2 -- x.x.x.50  

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I wish that was the problem but one of the first places I checked at first was there. The address of the server is not in the DHCP pool and I checked the IP address of the possessed machines and it is not the same as the server's.

Tell me more about your network.  How many servers?  How many workstations?  


A Windows NT3.51 based network with Service Pack 5. Only one server and one domain. No BDC. Have Backoffice 2.0 installed. Major services installed are Arcserver backup software by Cheyenne, Support Magic Help desk software that uses Sybase SQL Anyahere by Magic and Fax server by Facsys. The newest addition is the helpdesk software by Magic.  Have about 40 clients all running  windows 95. Have disabled the Browser on all the Win95 PC. Use Microsoft TCP/IP and Netbeui protocols only. No Novell or any other server attached.

Did this ever work properly?  If so, when was the last time it was ok?


Yes this has worked well for close to a year now. The first time I sa w the problem was after we installed a new help desk software called Support Magic which has a Sybase Anywhere service running. I uninstalled and removed all traces of the software from the registry but the problem did not go away. and it is still around.


Thank ypu for your efforts so far. I have added 50 more points since this problem is more difficult than I thought at first. Any development so far?

still looking... i'll post something again later today -- it's tax time :(


Thanks, just completed mine this afternoon so I know what you mean

Try uninstalling the DHCP service, reboot, then re-install.  Since you had it working once, I'm sure you know the correct way to do it.  Sometimes that's the only way clear out the 'crud'
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