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How do I correct a Preferred Master Browser problem?

Posted on 2008-06-23
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Ever since we have switched to Windows 2003 Active Directory we have had a problem browsing for computer and printers on the network.

Things seemed to improve when I made a registry change on one of the two Active Directory 2003 servers we have, to force it to be the Master Browser, but now that the old 2000 AD is completely decommissioned we are having problems again.

(This is the article I used to make the changes to the registry entry http://www.windowsnetworking.com/kbase/WindowsTips/WindowsNT/RegistryTips/Network/PreferredMasterBrowser.html)

I have searched through Google and Microsofts site, and have not been able to find any a solution.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Peter
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Question by:RTCexpert
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Expert Comment

by:ryansoto
ID: 21847174
By default a domain controller will be a master browser.  If you have 2 domain controllers they will elect between the 2 which one will handle this function.
The 2k machine may have also been a master browser.  Did you make sure to fully dc promo the machine out of the domain?
Also cleaning up the metadata helps remove any left over information for this process.
http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/012793ee-5e8c-4a5c-9f66-4a486a7114fd1033.mspx?mfr=true

Are you getting any errors regarding this?
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Author Comment

by:RTCexpert
ID: 21848210
Yes, I did do a DCPROMO command on the old Win2000 domain controller, just a few days ago.  I'm not sure if I should reboot both Win2003 AD servers, which I haven't done after the Win2000 DC was demoted.

I will try that Metadata tool today.

Nope, I'm not getting any errors other than the ones that showup when a computer can't locate a computer, server, or printer.

Thanks
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Author Comment

by:RTCexpert
ID: 21848502
I just wanted to add.

I'm using the Microsoft Browse Monitor utility, to take a look at the browse servers, and sometimes it shows one of our older Windows 2000 servers.  I noticed the old Windows 2000 servers only shows a few of the networked computers in its browse list.

Should I be disabling the preferred browser ability (via a registry change) on the old Windows 2000 servers, or does that not matter?

Thanks

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Expert Comment

by:ryansoto
ID: 21848605
You're taking that machine off the domain right?  If so then yes disable it.
Also your first post said that you removed the 2k machine.
Running the metadata clean up should remove this machine from active directory.  Once no reference is left in AD for this machine then it can no longer be a master browser.
Disabling the reg key shouldnt hurt the situation any
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ocon827679 earned 500 total points
ID: 21849465
Where is your WINS server and are all computers pointing to it?  The browser service runs off of NetBIOS name resolution so WINS is necessary (for the browser service to work properly) and not DNS.  Is NetBIOS over TCP/IP enabled on all of your computers including domain controllers?  Again you need NetBIOS for this to work.
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Author Comment

by:RTCexpert
ID: 21859317
The old AD server is still used for file sharing so it will remain on the network, so I can't completely remove all of the Metadata for it.

We have 14 servers total, half are Server 2003 and the other half are Server 2000, and I noticed more than half of then no longer had a WINS IP address entered into the network card properties, which I would think could could this browsing problem.

I have added both of the WINS servers (which replicate with each other) into each of the servers that had it missing.

If there is anyting else I should check, please let me know?

I also wanted to thank you both (ryansoto and ocon827679) for your help on this!

Peter
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by:ocon827679
ID: 21864848
How about your workstations?  Are they pointing to the WINS server?  According to your last post you said that you have 2 WINS server.  Are these push/pull partners with each other?  They need to be.  

Once you reconfigure the network properties of the systems you can either wait for the host to register itself with WINS or run nbtstat -RR from the command prompt.  (the -RR is case sensitive).  This will force a registration and relad the NetBIOS cache.  

You should see the browser start working as the hosts register themselves.
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Author Comment

by:RTCexpert
ID: 21865249
The workstations are getting their WINS settings from the two DHCP servers, which are the same serves that have WINS.  DHCP from both DHCP servers is giving the workstations both WINS addresses for automatic failover.

Yes, both WINS servers are Push/Pull Partners with each other.

If I don't do the nbtstat -RR command, will it do this one it's own within a day, or should I run this command at each machine that was missing the WINS entry?

Does this nbtstat -RR command only really apply to computers that have a static IP address and as such are not receiving the WINS address from DHCP automatically?

Thanks!

Peter
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Expert Comment

by:ocon827679
ID: 21874081
nbtstat -RR re-registers with WINS and reloads the NetBIOS cache.  It doesn't hurt anything to run it.  If you wait long enough, the system will register itself.  I forget the period, but want to say something like 90 minutes.  

Open WINS manager and view the database.  Ensure that all of your servers, including your domain controllers are listed.  Also ensure that your workstations are there.  If you don't see something, then go to that system and run the nbtstat command and recheck.
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Author Comment

by:RTCexpert
ID: 21876223
It all appears to be working reliably now.  Thanks!
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Author Closing Comment

by:RTCexpert
ID: 31469710
Thanks for your help!
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