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Browser Service Question

Posted on 2002-05-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-04
I have 3 sites connected via T1s. Each site has several NT/Novell servers (from 4-50) & ~100 W2K Pro PCs. Each site also has a Domain Controller.

All PCs have their browser service running.
Sometimes, we have problems browsing resources on the network since a PC has taken over as the master broswer & in worse cases, that PC is misconfigured in the network section - for example, binding order is not correct; IPX is first, then IP, etc.  

This causes problems and we shut off the browser service on that PC, then restart it on the BDC at that site, which takes over as Master broswer again & all is fine.

My questions are:
1) Do we need Browser Service on the PCs?  
2) Is there a way to keep BS on & not have PCs chosen as Master Browser for their segment?
3) What are negative impacts of turning off BS on client PCs?

Thanks!
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Question by:drodey
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Expert Comment

by:TooKoolKris
ID: 7022311
I would recommend that you implement WINS for browsing services.

Information on Browser Operation (Q102878)
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q102878

Common Questions About Browsing with Windows (Q136712)
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q136712

Domain Browsing with TCP/IP and LMHOSTS Files (Q150800)
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q150800

Description of the Microsoft Computer Browser Service (Q188001)
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q188001

These should help

TooKoolKris
MCSE+I, CCNA, A+


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Author Comment

by:drodey
ID: 7022406
FYI, We have WINS & DNS implemented for name resolution. There is a WINS/DNS server at each location as well - on the same box as the NT 4.0 domain controller.
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Author Comment

by:drodey
ID: 7022422
Furthermore, in one of the MS TIDs, it states:

"If there is not a domain controller present on a given network segment, then an election process is started that chooses a master browser and backup browser from the computers on the segment using the following order of priority:

Windows 2000 Server
Windows 2000 Professional
Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Server Enterprise Edition
Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Server
Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Workstation
Microsoft Windows 98
Microsoft Windows 95
Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 "

As I mentioned, we have a DC in each site but all our NT servers are NT 4.0.  Almost all our PCs are W2K & since they get priority before NT 4.0 server, it seems they're chosen as Master Browser.

Another question that comes up is why wouldn't the DC win over anything else since it's supposed to take the highest priority as a Master Browser for that segment?
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Expert Comment

by:TooKoolKris
ID: 7022550
I see what you are saying. Leave it to the idiots at Microsoft to think that a W2K PC is more important than a NT 4 Server. I know of a way that you could alter this but it would require that you change the registry of all the W2K pc's so that they can't become a master. The DC is supposed to win the election and if your DC's were W2K that's the way it would probably be. NT 4 isn't going to use DNS for LAN resolution, by design it uses NETBIOS. The DNS would be there for your W2K machines and an Active Directory Integrated Domain to use, just speaking for the LAN anyway.

This might be one of the little MS inconveniences put in place on purpose in order to get you to want to upgrade. Seems kind of funny that they would just overlook that huh? If your dead set on having the DC be the domain browser, at this time I know of no other way other then changing the registries on the W2K Pc to not take part in the elections.

TooKoolKris,
MCSE+I, CCNA, A+
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Author Comment

by:drodey
ID: 7023954
Thanks for the information - it was confirming what I'd read on all the TIDs but never that clearly stated.

The alternative to changing all the registries was to simply disable the Browser service on the W2K PCs.  Part of my original question was to find out what negative impacts there would be if this service were disabled.  This seems easier & less destructive then registry changes across the board.

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TooKoolKris earned 50 total points
ID: 7024080
I think that simply shutting off the browser service will still allow for the pc's to take part in the election process however. As long as you have a NT 4 server running WINS there will be an election process. I don't have the service running on any of my pc's and there is no negative impact that I can see from it. I would suggest to do as you say, try disabling the service on the W2K pc's then delete the master browser records from WINS and see what happens. It will force an election and wait and see who wins(no pun intended) :)

TooKoolKris,
MCSE+I, CCNA, A+
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