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Exploere does not show all machines on the network

Lorenzo08
Lorenzo08 asked
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I noticed that network discovery does not show all computer on the network. Network discovery and file & printer sharing is enabled.
The hidden machines, like server2 shows but server1 does not, can be mapped by entering the path manually.
Anybody else experienced this in SBS 2011? Any workaround?
Thanks
L
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ChrisLead Infrastructure Architect
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Commented:
browser services are probably turned off - Computer Browser
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Top Expert 2013

Commented:
Also verify on the problematic device's NIC "NetBIOS over TCP/IP" is not set to disabled. If this is the issue it can take about 20 minutes to be seen on the network.

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the hints. However, Netbios over TCP/IP is enabled, folder & printer sharing is enabled too.
In fact there is a GPO policy that should do that, but it is not applied to all machines???

I have an SBS 2011 server as DC. Another server is Win 2008, Win XP utilities provider and 2 NAS devices. The 2008 Server always shows up, the NAS and SBS don't (on most machines).

We did a clean install on the clients, so there is no leagay grabage in there.

By entering \\servername\folder the name pops up in the list. It is all there it just does not show.
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Top Expert 2013
Commented:
Just for the record:
1) Browsing makes use of NetBIOS traffic, primarily NetBIOS broadcasts and WINS. WINS is no longer enabled by default with Server 2008 and on, though it can be, and is the most reliable way of using network browsing. Current networks rely solely on DNS which is the backbone of Active Directory, and is not a basis for browsing. In addition IPv6, which will at some point be taking over, does not support NetBIOS traffic, so browsing as we know will die. Currently browsing is just unreliable.

2) Personally I have never understood the need to be able to browse for computers and even consider it a bit of a security risk. People are nosy, if they can browse they will. I have been at many universities where I can browse to the root of a C: drive of a research computer. Though disabling browsing doesn’t protect you in anyway, it does get rid of the curious folk. Why do users need to browse when they are connecting to known resources which can be mapped or published in active directory?

Having said that any SBS 2011 I have installed it works with no tweaking, but I am at a loos as to why it does, or doesn’t. It has become very unpredictable since the release of 2008, which of course coincides with disabling WINS.  Security software can block the necessary traffic but it seldom seems to be the problem. Disabling NetBIOS/TCP/IP can kill it as well, but this is enabled by default. I would suggest if you need to use browsing, try enabling the Computer Browser service as suggested by irweazelwallis earlier. It is disabled by default. As mentioned I have never enabled it and can browse so it is not necessary, but should help. Once enabled it can easily take an hour for missing machines to show in the browsing list.

Author

Commented:
Hi Rob,
thanks for your thorough explanation. You are right, it is not important to see other machines and users generally don't have access to them anyway.
My concern was more for the servers, NAS devices etc.
I can access them by typing \\name\directory etc. So it is just a matter of re-educating users that have got used to the old ways.

Thanks
Lorenzo
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Top Expert 2013

Commented:
Thanks Lorenzo08. Did enabling the computer browser service make a difference?

Author

Commented:
Hi Rob
sorry for the late reply. I was travelling.
Yes, enabling the browser seems to have done the trick. They are all visible now.

I should have given some points to irweaselwallis too for the suggestion, sorry mate.

Anyway, slowly weeding out all the little problems.

Don't understand why MS can't design a system that works when you first install it. It is like buying a new car and then you have to mount you own wheels and fill in the oil etc.
With all the hours I have to spend tweaking everything I should be getting it for free :-)

Cheers
All
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Top Expert 2013

Commented:
It depends on what you feel "a system that works when you first install it" means. NetBIOS traffic is unreliable in Server 2008/2008 R2 and is being phased out all together which affects network browsing. Many consider network browsing unnecessary and a security risk, and prefer it to be disabled. Also if they were compeletly configured nobody would need us as technicians :-)

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