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"Discovering" a workgroup name in WXP Pro

Posted on 2006-07-22
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Is there a way to discover what the workgroup name is that systems are working under?  I guess I'm looking for if the name is broadcast on a workgroup.  Or, do you *have* to know the name before joining a workgroup?

Thanks!
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Question by:CraigSNYC
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13 Comments
 
LVL 77

Assisted Solution

by:Rob Williams
Rob Williams earned 800 total points
ID: 17161306
Should be able to see the workgroup name if you now the IP of one computer that is the member of the workgroup, by running:
nbtstat  -a  <ip address>   such as nbtstat  -a  192.168.123.123
In the returned list, you should see a line:
WorkgroupName   <1E> GROUP

If you don't know the IP of any computers, assuming you are on the same LAN, via DHCP, or some other method, you can scan for IP addresses using a little tool such as TCP Net View:
http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/malagash/Downloads/TCPNetView/TCPNV.EXE
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by:Rob Williams
Rob Williams earned 800 total points
ID: 17161312
or....
You could use a scanning utility like LANSpy which will return IP's, NetBIOS names, and other information. Included in the NetBIOS names list is the workgroup or domain name.
http://lantricks.com/lanspy/
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LVL 40

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by:Fatal_Exception
Fatal_Exception earned 900 total points
ID: 17161774
Might try this utility, which was brought to my attention in the MVP forums  (free to use):

The Dude network monitor is a new application by MikroTik which can dramatically improve the way you manage your network enviroment. It will automatically scan all devices within specified subnets, draw and layout a map of your networks, monitor services of your devices and alert you in case some service has problems.

http://www.mikrotik.com/thedude.php

By the way, Workgroups don't really mean much in the way of Networking computers...  Their only use is to 'organize' your network..  you don't really 'join' workgroups like you would join a Domain..  For instance, I have some clients that don't want the expense and overhead of running Domains.  I can name every computer in the organization a different Workgroup, but I can access any computer in the Network...  Just so you know and understand..

FE
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Author Comment

by:CraigSNYC
ID: 17163861
Hey, FE thanks for the clarification on Workgroups.  Can you explain a bit more about that, or where I can read a bit more about how Workgroups actually function?

Thanks!  

Craig
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LVL 40

Assisted Solution

by:Fatal_Exception
Fatal_Exception earned 900 total points
ID: 17164013
Chicagotech has a lot a good information on general networking:

http://tinyurl.com/rmzlt

Windows Networking Myths:

http://www.bcmaven.com/myths.htm

Myth:  All of the computers on a network must use the same workgroup name.

Fact: Windows networking supports multiple workgroups.  Computers in any workgroup can access computers in any other workgroup.  Workgroups have no role in network access, and they don't provide any type of security.
Explanation: It's a little easier to access computers in the same workgroup than in other workgroups.  In Windows 95 and 98, computers in the same workgroup appear immediately when you open Network Neighborhood, and you need to click Entire Network to access other workgroups.



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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 17164031
You would think with everything that has been written about Windows Networking, the subject of Workgroups would be more fully explained, but I find no good references to this...  Basically, Workgroups just make organizing computers in a Wins or Netbios environment easier to find..  I do have a pretty good article on Netbios, posted on my Help Pages of my site, which is much more important in understanding Windows Networking than Workgoups.  Feel free to visit and read at your leisure:

http://65.24.134.81/KipSolutions/NetBios/netbios.htm

(www.doverproductions.com)

FE
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Author Comment

by:CraigSNYC
ID: 17168443
FE,

I read the NetBios article on  your site. (great info!!) Just so that I completely understand: Without NetBios enabled, systems would not be able to communicate within a Workgroup?  

Thanks so much for your time!

Craig
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LVL 40

Accepted Solution

by:
Fatal_Exception earned 900 total points
ID: 17169105
:)  Not necessarily.  Network Neighborhood or My Network Places populates using Netbios.  In today's environment (2K and XP) we use Netbios over TCP (NBT) to populate these.

If you disable it, then you can always get to a network share (or PC) using the Run Line:  \\ipaddress (or computername)
Workgroups do not come into play then...  :)

FE
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Author Comment

by:CraigSNYC
ID: 17176143
FE,

Before I close out the question I was wondering if you had any other useful network tools you wanted to share.  I've checked out all the ones you've listed already and they're all great and will be helpful in future trouble shooting.

Craig
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 17176857
Another I like for collecting network information, and is free is: http://www.lookatlan.com/
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 17216117
Thanks CraigSNYC,
--Rob
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Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 17216785
Yes, thanks, and best of luck!
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