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Computers not showing up in Network Places

Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
We have a Windows server 2003 Enterprise computer that works as a Domain Controller and a Symantec Anti-virus server.

We had to re-install the Symantec application on the server, and we need to roll out the installs again to our computers. The Symantec software rolls this out by finding computers on the "Network Places" directory.

If I open Network Places and open my Domain, I see maybe....15 computers or so. (Most of which are all servers)

How I know about NetBIOS and stuff like that, but I don't have time to look through over 60 computers to see if this is enabled.

We do have VLANS setup and the network is as follows....

192.168.1.x = Servers
192.168.2.x = Clients
192.168.3.x = Printers

So perhaps the VLANS have something to do with it. (Although some servers on the same VLAN do not show up)

What is the best method to fix this without going to each computer? All workstations are Windows XP Pro.
Watch Question

Are you using DHCP? If yes.. do you have WINS set up?


Is it possible that windows firewall is running and blocking on the majority of PCs? From the anti-virus server can you ping one of the clients you expect it to be able to find that it doesnt? Try to ping it by DNS and by IP.. any luck there?


We do have a DHCP Windows server. It did not have WINS setup, but yesterday I set it up because after doing some research I found that might help. The WINS server (Which is also the symantec server) has enteries in the WINS database, but the Network Places is still empty.

Also yes I can ping the computers and do \\computername to get to them. If I search for the PC's they show up as well. Just not in the Network places.
Do you have the browser service running?



There is a service called Computer Browser running on the server right now.

I see in the link you sent it mentions running some Browstat command. How do you run this? Is it some kind of console snap-in or something?


Ok I installed the program and filled out all the information. I'm not sure I really know how to use it though.

Is this what is required to display computers in the network places?

I ran the program and got some "Domain master browser was not found" so I'm going to try and troubleshoot that.


Well I ran the browstat status command and it displays the following....

Status for domain <MyDomain> on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_{98DC45AB-3C90-4
    Browsing is active on domain.
    Master browser name is: <Local server>
        Master browser is running build 3790
    3 backup servers retrieved from master <Local Server>

Yet it says the Master browser for the domain could not be found.

Now in the link you sent, there was a fix involving DNS stuff because the user could not see the server over an UNC path. Well in my case I can browse to any computer with the UNC path, so would the fix still be the same?


No dice, still doesn't work for me.
I wish I had a better answer for you .. at this point if it were me I would call Microsoft.. pay the 290 bucks and they will walk you though to completion.  Best of luck.
There are two ways to populate the Browse list:

First let's get a little background of the Domain browser service:

The domain browser service populates "My Network Places". It does this by two simultaneous ways. One I call the Old school method and the other I call the new school method:

Old School:
Old school uses netbios over TCP/IP or Netbios over DHCP. The problem with Netbios over DHCP that is the current nic configuration default is if your DHCP server is not the domain master browser, it won't work.
Netbios over TCP/IP uses these three ports:
WINS/Netbios broadcast port 137/TCP and Netbios datagram ports 138/UDP, and 139/UDP.
As you probably know, Netbios broadcasts are not routable. This means it will not propogate over a VPN tunnel through NAT, to VLANs, through firewalls unless you have a very specific configuration:
~~For NAT translation, a WINS connection between the two site Domain master browsers needs to be created.
~~For VPN tunnels, a WINS connection needs to be created.
~~For a VLAN, you may need to open up these three ports for netbios broadcasts and that only applies if these VLANS are on the same subnet.
~~~~If not on the same subnet, the VLANS will need s WINS connection between the VLAN master browsers.

The New school method is Netbios over SMB:
SMB uses these two ports:
SMB port 445/TCP
Netbios datagram port 139/UDP
For SMB to work, a porthole needs to be open between the two sites or VPNs.

IT security:
Unfortunately both methods are HIGHLY targeted by hackers. Open ports to network shares is a gold mine for hackers to play with. These are probably the highest targeted ports on the LAN. So, they are often blocked by ISPs and enterprise firewalls. For SMB sharing, you can redirect the path to an HTTPS port. I am still studying up on this.

To resolve your situation with the VLANS, try opening up ports 445 and 139 between the VLANS. Then go to this site to check your enterprise firewall for blockages. It is called Shields UP. This site is a port scanner like what hackers use. But, this port scanner is legit because it's sole purpose is to show you about your IT security.

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