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Browser problem

Posted on 1998-03-06
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Last Modified: 2013-12-23
Hello!

We had a big problem on our network the other day. We lost contact with our NT40-server, and the problems disappeared when we used NetBEUI instead of TCP/IP.

When we checked the Event Viewer, we saw some messages referring to "Master Browser" and "election on network". They sounded like this:

Event ID: 8033
"The browser has forced an election on network \Device\Nbf_RTL80291 because a master browser was stopped."
Event ID: 8015
"The browser has forced an election on network \Device\Nbf_RTL80291 because a Windows NT Server (or domain master) browser is started."

What is this? Election? Master browser?
Can anyone clarify this?
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Question by:riegsa
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rladd earned 450 total points
ID: 1571267
On you Microsoft network there is only one "Master Browser".  The master browser contains the master or orginal copy of the bwowse list,  The browse list is composed of ever windows machine that has the server service installed (even if the no shares have been created).  Hter can be multiple backup browsers on your network.  The browsing traffick will compose approx 30-40% of your network traffic (actual milage may vary).  When some on turns their computer on it announces itself on the network and the master browser will add it to the browse list.  The backup browsers get their info or list only from the master browser.  
When some one clicks or opens a browse window by double clicking on network neighborhood thei maching contacts the master browser for a list of the backup browsers. Then their maching will contact the backup browser for the browse list.

Another question is "Which one will be the master browser?"
The Windows machines go by a preset set of rules to determine who will be the master browser.
1. NT Server as a PDC
2. NT Server
3. NT Workstation
4. Windows 95
5. Windows for Workgroup
To break down even futher you  have version, Service packs and uptime.
The election process will happen when you bring a new NT computer on line.
This is a quote out of the Core technologise book page 331

"Net work computers initiate an election packet by broadcasting a special message called an election packet.  The election packet contains the requesting computer's criteria value.  All browsers process the election packet.

When a browser receives an election packet, it examines the packet and compares the criteria of the requesting computer with its own election criteris.  If the receiving browser election criteria than the issuer of the election packet, the browser issues its own election packet, and then enters an "election-in-process" state.  This process continues until the master browser is elected, based on the highest ranking criteria value."

So to sum everything up.  This is normal.

Roy Ladd
rladd@cland.boise.id.us
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Expert Comment

by:ll55960
ID: 1571268
I suspect it is 8003 events you're seeing. Life is a little more complicated if you're running multiple IP subnets on one physical network like we are (by having secondary addresses on a Cisco router). There are actually master browsers, backup browsers, and potential browsers for each subnet. When your subnets overlap because they're on the same physical network, there is
confusion because the broadcasts involved in browser elections are heard by all subnets.

Suggestions:
-one solution is to make sure you have all subnets separated by routing hops (may or may not be practical in your case)
-if you have router separation, don't enable broadcast forwarding, because this causes the same confusion
-you might want to consider disabling your clients' participation in browser elections. (But make sure you have one stable server in each subnet to act as a 'permanent' browser.)
-go to a larger subnet ( private class B, with address translation to the outside world) This avoids the overlapping subnet situation be having a single big subnet.

Going back to the idea of having a stable server in each subnet. If you use DHCP like we do, you may have scopes that cover almost an entire subnet (class C in our case.) If these are all clients that get rebooted arbitrarily, then no matter who ends up as the subnet master browser, there will be elections (and I suspect some periods of general confusion) when that client is rebooted. This is why a stable server in each subnet helps. Servers get priority in elections, and itinerant clients don't force elections.

Enough verbosity - hope some of this helps...

Cheers!
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Author Comment

by:riegsa
ID: 1571269
Thank you for your answers so far. From what you have written, what happened with us seemed to be a breakdown on the NT-server's browser service. The Win95-computers lost contact with the NT-server, but when we restarted the server, everything worked normally.

I've read that when you install sharing of files/printers, a browsing service is also installed on Win95 PC's. Could one of the Win95-PC's in the network "disturb" the browser service on the server? Is this in any way connected to the protocol being used? We had only one IP-subnet and no routers

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