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My XP Pro pc can see all computers in "microsoft windows network".  My W2K server does not.

Posted on 2004-08-27
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-04
I am sitting in front of my Dell W2k Server and have logged on as Administrator.  I ran Windows Explorer.  By clicking on the + sign next to Microsoft Windows Network, I can see W2K computers.  I cannot any Windows XP computers (we have 5 of them).

On my computer (running Windows XP Pro), I log on to the domain of the W2k Server.  I ran Windows Explorer.  By clicking on the + sign next to Microsoft Windows Network, I can see all W2K computers, AND ALL Windows XP computers.

I would think the server would at least be able to see all computers connected to it.

What can I do on the server to allow it to show all computers attached to it?  (By the way, when I search for an XP computer from the server, the search is successful).

Thanks for your help.
Question by:jimdorman
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Expert Comment

ID: 11916935

sounds like its a tcp/ip only network...
the 'windows network' relies on a protocol known as NETBIOS (Network Basic Input Output System)
this protocol will carry and announce computer 'names' to other computers on the network.

i reccomend installing IPX/SPX Compatible Protocol on ALL computers/servers... IPX/SPX is a very effecient carrier of NETBIOS data.
you should notice an increase in network speed across the LAN and you will also resolve all problems with each computer being able to 'see' each other.

if you do not want to install another protocol you will have to install the WINS service (Windows Internet Naming Service) on the server. WINS will handle all LAN computer names and be used as a centralized database for storing these names... reduces network traffic a little as opposed to installing IPX/SPX where computers send out broadcasts.

i prefere using IPX/SPX however as it adds functionality for certian programs, increases LAN file sharing speeds and is overall a very effecient protocol unlike tcp/ip which has TONS of overhead in a LAN environment.

Author Comment

ID: 11917220
WINS is running on the Server (it is started automatically).

Expert Comment

ID: 11918943

right but do the clients have this configured in their tcp/ip properties?
if not then thats why. to fix this you will have to add the correct WINS data to your DHCP service.
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Author Comment

ID: 11933372
On my Windows XP Pro computer, the WINS tab has the following settings:

Enable LMHOSTS lookup is checked.

NetBIOS setting:  Default:  Use NetBIOS from the DHCP server.  If static IP address is used or the DHCP server does not provide NetBIOS setting, enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP.

Expert Comment

ID: 11958854
ok first off i should explain what LMHOSTS is:
Lan Manager HOSTS file - is for legacy support and is not actively configured/updated.
LMHOSTS is a STATIC mapping of computers names to IP addresses, which means unless you manually wrote entries in for every computer then it will do nothing at all.

2nd "use netbios from the DHCP server" this is not correct as DHCP only works over TCP/IP (NETBIOS is not TCP/IP or even related)... DHCP does not provide protocol/communication service, rather it does nothing more than pass IP configuration information to a client from a server.

once again here we need to stress that tcp/ip and netbios are completely different.
TCP/IP will not be suffecient to allow all computers to browse each other... even with netbios enabled over tcp/ip it will not work properly... you can thank microsoft for this one :{

please try what i mentioned above atleast for testing purposes: add IPX/SPX to clients and server.
you will notice that this will generate less packets and cut down on processing overhead created by the OSI model in TCP/IP.
TCP/IP is specifically a WAN environment protocol used for reliable routing and gauranteed delivery. while it is capable of being used in a LAN environment, you would need a HUGE LAN environment to deem it appropriate and also have to install additional protocols for functionality.

IPX/SPX will carry the proper NETBIOS datagrams necessary for proper "browsing" of all windows computers.
keep in mind that if this is a internally routed network that you will also need additional configuration on the internal router.
macintosh computer functionality can be achieved by adding the APPLETALK service on the server.

side note on security-
IPX/SPX is NOT a routable protocol, another words it cannot be used/accessed over the internet.

Author Comment

ID: 11966527
I installed IPX/SPX on my Win XP Pro computer.

I installed IPX/SPX on the Win 2000 server.

My Win XP Pro computer can "see" all computers in Microsoft Windows Network.

The Win 2000 Server, under Microsoft Windows Network, displays only Win 2000 computers (no XP computers, including mine).


Author Comment

ID: 12031779
Closing this case ... no help available.

Expert Comment

ID: 12049420
lol or u just want someone to do it for you.
we dont get paid so dont expect someone licking your feet

did you restart the server after installing ipx/spx... do you have a hosts file or lmhosts file manually setup.... did you purge the netbios cache?

man maybe you should go somewhere else if you dont appreciate us helping you


Author Comment

ID: 12049699
I followed instructions regarding this matter to the letter.

You are correct in by adding IPX/SPX to my windows xp pro computer, I am now able to see ALL computers in Microsoft Windows Network.

At the Windows 2000 Server, I open Windows Explorer and navigate to
\My Network Places\Entire Network\Microsoft Windows Network\
I see ONLY computers running Windows 2000.
-- also --
At the Windows 2000 Server, I open Windows Explorer and navigate to
\My Network Places\Entire Network\Directory\SD(domain name)\Computers
I see ALL computers in the Domain.

On the contrary, I do appreciate all the help I receive from the people at experts-exchange.  I defer to them for information I do not know or unsure of.

I also appreciate your criticism ...


Expert Comment

ID: 12051129

hmmm, its something with active directory settings i believe
i have not had this trouble before on my 2k server....

i might have to think about this for a while, hopefully another mcse can help in the meantime...

--- i remember you said you have the server running WINS... did you configure the XP clients to work with the WINS server? DHCP does not relay that info by default... on the XP clients goto the TCP/IP properties and make sure that WINS info is properly filled out.

if we have to... we will just go ahead and set some static mappings in a LMHOSTS file... that would require all clients to have static IP's.

Accepted Solution

_Jochen_ earned 2000 total points
ID: 12140821
Check if W2K Server is a possible Master Browser for the Network.
The following Key have set to:
\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Services \Browser \Parameters\MaintainServerList = YES
(should be default by Servers)

If the first Key ist set to yes set this one to:
\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Services \Browser \Parameters\IsDomainMaster = TRUE

Browsing Intervall is 12 Minutes.
If you set this Keys wait half an hour and check Network Neighborhood.

Author Comment

ID: 12172313

The w2K Server registry entry was:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Services \Browser \Parameters\MaintainServerList = YES

\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Services \Browser \Parameters\IsDomainMaster = FALSE

I changed the second entry to
\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Services \Browser \Parameters\IsDomainMaster = TRUE

I waited until the next morning and logged on the Server computer.
No XP computers (including my own win XP pc) show up in the Microsoft Windows Network (only Windows 2k pc's appear).

I changed the following entry back to
\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Services \Browser \Parameters\IsDomainMaster = FALSE

I am ready to abandon this issue ...


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