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Can access shares using IP and FQDN but not the host name of the server.

I have found a couple of other issues on here that relate to this but no solutions that seem to work for our situation.

I have a client that started having an issue where some of their computers are unable to access the server, which is a 2003 smb server, using the server hostname.  If they type in \\server in run or in the explorer window, all it pulls up is their off-line files.  If they type in the IP \\x.x.x.x, it shows all the shares, and if they type the FQDN \\server.domain.local, it pulls up all the shares as well.  They are running dynamic ip on all systems.  Not all computers are having this issue.  Some are able to access it just fine.  There are about 4 systems though that are having this issue.  

Nothing has changed and they are not running any kind of AV software on their server, and they are not using a firewall.
I have tried resetting the IP Stack for the systems having the problems.  I have tried setting the IP addresses statically.  I can ping both the IP and Host name of the server from these computers and it resolves properly.  I have run an NSLOOKUP on both the ip and the host name and it resolves properly.  I have even tried resetting their switch and router.
I cleared the ARP cache and flushed the DNS cache on these systems.  The issue does not go away if I restart either the server or the workstations.  It is only the one server that they are unable to access in this way.  They only have one server, but they have other systems that have shares on them and they can access them just fine.

Their server does act as a Domain controller and a DNS server.

I apologize if this issue has been resolved in another forum, but of the ones I found, none of the solutions seemed to work for me.
1 Solution
Glen KnightCommented:
On the systems that are having problems can you add the domain name under the DNS Suffix section on the TCP/IP properties of the network card?

Once that's done can you ping/browse by host name?
You didn't mention which OS your clients have.
I think the issue is that these users have problems accessing a folder that they have set to make available offline. If any share on the server that has ben made available offline cannot be reached the whole server will be seen as offline.
Because offline files uses NetBios Names you only see this problem when trying to access via NetBios Name.

Try disabling Offline File Synchronbisation for all shares on this server and try again.

If your clients are Windows XP, maybe one of these articles help?
230738 How to Restart the Offline Files Cache/Database

230738      How to re-initialize the offline files cache and database
This is definately a netbios issue.

It appears that a number of clients are seeing the wrong domain master browser. The master browser holds a cache of netbios name to IP addresses.

Some will say that DNS can provide Netbios resolution. Truth is, the DNS server will provide netbios by getting it from the master browser's Netbios cache, (Usually the PDCe).

I would be willing to bet another symptom you are seeing on these four computers is you can't see other computers in the command prompt by typing "net view": Nor can you see them if you look in "my network places"

The one thing you should know about netbios is netbios uses broadcasts to communicate information on CIFS/SMB shares to the domain master browser. That means that Netbios broadcasts are held to the broadcast domain. This means netbios broadcasts will not route over NAT, through a VPN tunnel, over to a different VLAN, etc.... Unless you have help with WINS or Netbios helper. The exception to the rule is IF that client PC has the netbios cached entry that will translate the Netbios name to an IP. Otherwise it will try to communicate via netbios to the domain master browser, (most likely the PDCe).

One thing you might want to do is go to the servers and look for event errors in the system event logs within the 8000's that elude to a master browser conflict.
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nexusphreezAuthor Commented:
Globetrotter may have the right answer to this situation.  The description sounds exactly like what is happening.   I wont know for sure until I go in on Monday to test it out.  But these computer can see all other computers through network neighborhood, including this server.  And using "net view" does respond with other computer names on the network.  I will update this when I get in on Monday morning.  Thanks.
Daniel McAllisterPresident, IT4SOHO, LLCCommented:
Whew... NetBIOS rears its ugly head again!

First, unless you're using Samba, the presence of a PDC is an indication that you need to invest in your infrastructure!

In the Windows Server World:
PDC/BDC servers were the Windows NT method of creating "domain controllers" and used NetBIOS (or NetBT) (Win 9x ME, and NT Workstations were the clients)
Windows 2000 replaced PDC/BDC with Active Directory and upgraded NetBIOS to SMB (although remained backwards compatible)
Windows 2008 replaced SMB with SMB2 and removed the NetBIOS entirely (go ahead - open ports 137-139 on a Windows 2008 server! Unless you tweak the registry, there will be no file sharing on those ports! (That is, backward compatibility goes only to Windows 2000, not all the way back to DOS!)
Windows Vista and 7 are the clients that use SMB2, and they too require a registry tweak to use NetBIOS.
So, in the Windows Server World -- if you're still running Windows NT Server(s) as PDCs, it's time to look for updated infrastructure!

In the Linux world:
Samba 3 can be a PDC (like NT) and even an AD member (but not an AD server)
Samba 3 supports both NetBIOS & SMB
Samba 3.5 was released to support SMB2 (the Vista/7/Server 2008 updates) and retains connectivity via SMB & NetBIOS (although the default NetBIOS setting is now OFF)
Samba 4 will be able to be an AD server, and also supports SMB2, as well as backwards compatibility with SMB and NetBIOS
So, in the Linux Server World, UNLESS you're still supporting Windows NT, 9x, or Me clients, it's time to close down your NetBIOS and let your clients use SMB.
Furthermore, if all of your clients are running Vista or later, upgrade to Samba 3.5 and enjoy the considerable increases in efficiency!

[Read my Samba article on getting the most out of SMB2 here, if you want to know more...]


The point is this -- the ability to use a hostname (vs. a DNS name or IP address) is a Network Browser function. That is, when the host boots, it "advertises" itself to the local "browser master", which then responds to the new system so that "it knows who's boss". Occasionally, an "election" is held -- primarily just in case the "browser master" has gone down.

In a Domain environment (AD or PDC), the network browsing function is usually DISABLED (especially in AD) in favor of the domain server's name service (DNS or even WINS). [To be clear, network browsing us supported in NetBIOS, SMB, and SMB2 alike! In Windows 7, it is most common with the new "HomeGroup" function].

Now let's differentiate here - using the HOSTNAME to identify a system on the LAN allows the individual host administrator to change their name on the network by simply changing the computer's hostname and (usually) rebooting. By using a server's naming service (AD or PDC), you remove that "power" from the local system admin, and instead allow the server (and thus, the server [or domain] admins the right to determine the client machine's name on the network. Thus, most business system admins prefer the latter -- although seemingly invariably some system will pop up on the LAN advertising for a browser master -- usually for WORKGROUP or MSHOME!

SO -- the easy fix for the original poster is to make DNS entries that match the computer names -- probably CNAME entries (aka: ALIASes). That way you won't care about the computer browser (WINS or NetBIOS) master browser election and will instead use DNS.

Good luck!


nexusphreezAuthor Commented:
As I said in my previous posts, I had tested all aspects of netbios and wins and all those seemed to be fine.   The only difference between my post and other peoples posts on this was that when I browsed out to the server, it would only show off line files.  That is why I am awarding globetrotter the points, because he nailed it right on the head.  I downloaded MS's fixit for this issue and ran it on all the computers that were having the problem, and poof, no more problem.  The offline file cache on each of the computers was somehow corrupted or how I like to put it "Glitched".  Anyway,  you guys are awesome for your quick responses and I am very impressed with this website.  This is the first time I have utilized the resources of this site and I think I will stay with you.  
Thanks again globetrotter.
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