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New Server not showing up in "My Network Places"

Posted on 2009-12-28
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Last Modified: 2012-05-08
I have a single domain AD forest with three sites divided by subnets and Netopia routers. The sites are connected by PPTP tunnels.

Site A is the main site, with two DC servers, and Exchange server, and several other servers, as well as 40-50 Win XP clients. There is DHCP, 2-DNS, WINS

Site B is a small office with a single server serving 5 users. This single server provides all of the basics: AD DC, DNS, DHCP, WINS.

Site C is the new site with the "Problem" server. This site is still in the development stages, as there is only one server, and I am still setting up the basics.

This site is a new member of my existing domain, and is growing out of (along side of) an existing Linux based domain with Samba and Zimbra for email. This existing site is not a part of this, except that we are sharing space and resources while everything transitions from this old domain to the new one which is Site C.

The new Site C has one AD DC server hosting DNS, WINS. We choose for now to keep the existing DHCP from the old domain running and use this rather than add another DHCP server and IP scope. This new Site is also using a pair of "Riverbed Steelhead" appliances between the new office (Site C), and the main office (Site A).

The problem seems simple, but I can't get a handle on what the solution is:

Weather on the new server, or on any server/workstation from the Site A office, when I browse the Domain machines in My Network Places, I can see everything except the new server.

I can ping it. I can map a drive to a shared resource in this new server. and sometimes it shows up, but not for long.

I have tried disabling the Riverbed appliances, assuming that there was a problem due to these accelerating the connection: other than slowing down the link between the offices, this did not make any difference.

I have done what I know how to do in checking the settings for WINS, DNS, etc, and have found nothing that I can think of that would cause this.

Any assistance here would be appreatiated.

Thanks in advance.

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Question by:RKoons
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Expert Comment

by:tiago_aviz
ID: 26134098
In order for that enumeration to work, the computer browser service must be running. I've seen some samba servers winning NetBT elections over Windows 2003 server, reason which could be your issue.

Check out your System log on Site C windows 2003. It should be complaining about that he's losing master browser elections even though he's an AD server.

A way to make this go away would be to comment in /etc/samba/smb.conf on your samba server the following lines:

announce as =
os level =

And restart the thing :)
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Author Comment

by:RKoons
ID: 26138685
Thanks...
I have seen this error from time to time.
And, this makes sense, because now for example, the server is showing up fine, but now and then, it just "goes away", yet I can still access shares, ping, etc.
I don't have access/control over the Linux boxes, but I can contact the person who does.
Three final questions:
  1. How can I prove that the Linux servers are the culpret here?
  2. In lue of the fact that I do have very little control over these Linux boxes, is there anything I can do on my server to resolve this?
  3. Would it be safe to say that, if this is the problem, at worse, it is something I could live with for now if I can't get these Linux boxes changed?
Thanks again!
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Author Comment

by:RKoons
ID: 26155127
Additional Information...
I did some testing using the browstat command:
  • During a time when I could see the server in Site C, this new server was listed as a Backup Browser for the domain.
  • Later that day, I noticed that the new server was not listed from a workstation. I went back to the server and ran the same "Browstat status" which now showed that it was not a backup browser, being replaced by a member server from the main Site A.
So, at least I can now see that there is a correlation between the Browser Status, and the visability of the server.
I have seen articles about how to take a member server and use the "IsDomainMaster" registry setting, but it is specific about using a member server. My box is a DC, and for now, the only box in this segment/Site of the domain.
Any Ideas?
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Expert Comment

by:tiago_aviz
ID: 26167623
Without Access/Control over the linux boxes you can't prove much..

It appears that if there's a DC on another site showing as a master browser, your Riverbed device is relaying NetBIOS broadcasts to all networks. Try disabling that.

This would cause your problems, as this election should only occur within a local network.
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Accepted Solution

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RKoons earned 0 total points
ID: 26180015
Thanks for all the input, but I found the answer by accident the other day while researching a solution. I was looking through articles on how to troubleshoot the Browser service, and saw the title to another article:
Server does not show up in Computer list when comment is 48 characters long.
I looked at the description and sure enough, it was 48 exactly. So, I shortened it. I have had no trouble since.
All your assistance was very helpful, but I will have to take this, as the solution.
Thanks again
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Expert Comment

by:tiago_aviz
ID: 26186745
wow, I didn't remember that! good work!
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