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Unusual problem on mixed Windows network

Posted on 2011-09-08
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I have an unusual networking problem on a mixed Windows network. I have 7 hard-wired computers on a peer-to-peer network plus 2 printers and an Apple Airport. 4 computers are Windows XP SP3 and 3 computers are Windows 7 Professional 32. I use one of the W7 computers as a server and access it from most of the others. I regularly access the server from 2 W7 computers and 2 XP computers. The problem is that each of the XP computers gets intermittent data from the server from within the program that is seeking the data. The programs are not the same on the 2 XP machines. I can see the data from Windows Explorer on the XP machines, but the programs have varying errors in reading and manipulating the data.  The problem is intermittent.  Usually I must reboot the W7 server to solve the problem once it has started. My router is a SonicWall.  In an effort to solve the problem, I have forced the server to act as the browser master, and have completely replaced one of the XP machines and did a clean install on the OS. I have no problems with the server data when accessed by the W7 machines.
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Question by:kentcrane
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ChiefIT earned 500 total points
ID: 36512813
Disable the computer browser service on ALL computers except your acting server... Otherwise they will try to compete for the role of domain master browser. (DOMAIN) in this context means the broadcast domain. I do understand you are working on a peer-to-peer network..

In addition, I see that you changed the registry key to manually set the master browser on the 07 (acting server). Are you sure that none of the other computers are not manually set and therefore competing.

This is why I suggest disabling the browser service on all computers except the acting server. The browser service is used for the browser election process. By disabling it, you are preventing these machines from electing themselves as a the domain master browser. Browser conflicts will show up in event logs (system events) as either 8021 or 8032 events that elude to a master browser conflict. Also any 8000 events elude to Netbios issues.
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Author Comment

by:kentcrane
ID: 36512942
I found that simply setting the W7 server to act as master browser did not prevent the XP machines from taking the role. So prior to posting my problem on this site, I had already disabled all the XP machines from acting as the master browser.  I have been monitoring the election and found that the problem persists even with the W7 server acting as the master browser. Do you think that I must also limit the 2 other W7 machines as well? Don't I need at least one other machine to act as a secondary master browser?
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 36513018
You should only have ONE domain master browser, then a backup browser. They are defined manually by registry key entries. ONLY THOSE TWO should have the browser service enabled. So, disable all the other 'puter's browser services. That prevents them from participating in browser elections.....

Now back to the domain master and backup browser. Follow this guide:

http://www.pctools.com/guides/registry/detail/54/

Isdomainmaster (acting server only)
Maintainsserverlist (both computers)

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Author Comment

by:kentcrane
ID: 36513119
So, is this the configuration you are suggesting?:

XP 1 - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - No
XP 2 - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - No
XP 3 - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - No
XP 4- HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - No
W7 1 - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - No

W7 2 - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - Yes
W7 2 - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\IsDomainMaster - Auto

W7 Server
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - Yes
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\IsDomainMaster - Yes
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 36513318
Yes, that's a good config... Are you still experiencing problems?

Now, on these five, disable the browser service>>Start>>Run>>type in "Services.msc" navigate to the "computer Browser" service, then right click and stop and then disable it:

XP 1 - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - No
XP 2 - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - No
XP 3 - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - No
XP 4- HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - No
W7 1 - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Maintainserverlist - No
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Author Comment

by:kentcrane
ID: 36513456
Chief,

I listed the configuration for the benefit of future readers of this conversation.  I realized that I should have added "\Parameters" after "\Browser" in my registry string; for example it should have been:
XP1 - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Parameters: Maintainserverlist - No

I will disable the browser service in the 5 machines as you suggest and give it a few days to see if the problem persists since the error has been inconsistent in the past.

On which machine would I check the event logs for the 8000 events? The machine getting the error or the W7 server.  Exactly where do I find the event logs?
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Author Comment

by:kentcrane
ID: 36513505
An interesting thing that I found when first pursuing this problem (and before posting my question) was that the XP machine that consistently won the master browser election had the following settings:

MaintainServerList - Auto
IsMasterBrowser - No

I was surprised to find that the IsMasterBrowser key set to "No' did not prevent the computer from being the master browser. Setting the MaintainServerList to "No" prevented the master browser selection.
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 36515350
Check for 8000 events on the acting server W7 computer.

Sometimes "False" or "True" works better than No or Yes... It's suppose to accept any number of Boolean statements, but it's not always the case... If the registry key doesn't work as expected try True or False.. instead of Yes, and No.
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 36515360
Nevertheless, disabling the browser service will force it NOT to participate in browser elections.

One other thing that you should know for troubleshooting>>>

Net Config Server
Net Config Workstation
Net Config Redir

These three command lines can be used to help you troubleshoot netbios...
1) Net Config Server shows you what the SERVER service is broadcasting.. This is used for browser elections between servers... So, this command line is important. Also pay attention to the type of records, 00, 1B, 1D... These record types tell you what the server is acting as and they are outlined on the following technet thread..

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc940063.aspx

2) Net Config workstation shows you what the workstation service is broadcasting
3) Net Config Redir is a command line that shows you what interface that Netbios is bound to and if SMB (server message block) is active...
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Author Closing Comment

by:kentcrane
ID: 36531175
Since this was an intermittent problem, I waited several days to make sure that the problem was solved.  So far, so good.
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Author Comment

by:kentcrane
ID: 36539095
The problem has re-occurred and my master browser election is going to the server according to the settings made per the suggestions of ChiefIT.  Apparently the master browser lead was a red herring. After checking the event log on the server, I found error id 2017 around the time of the problem's re-emergence. So after doing some research, I have disabled SBM  2.0 on the Windows 7 computer that is acting as server.  I will post the results.
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 36539469
Yes, that will cause problems with computers using SMB v 1.. I think you are on the right track.
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