When viewing "Network" in active directory not all users pc show from each office. Some do some don't

Hello-

When viewing "Network" in active directory not all users pc show from each office. Some do some don't.  I made sure all pc/laptops have turned on their ability to be see (the prompt you get in Windows 7, the first time you go into "network".

We use DHCP addressing for all three of our office with one DHCP server in 1 office and the other two DHCP is handled by their Cisco router and the other office DHCP is handled by the Mitel PBX, MCP 300.

Any thoughts?

Does wins come into play in this? I'm not sure
jbishop2446bAsked:
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pwindellCommented:
That is showing what the contents of the Browse List are,...it is not showing what is actually visible on the LAN..

You're never going to get that to be consistant.  MS has tried for years to ween people from even messing with it.  It was an old technology going back to the days of Win95 and NT4.0 when most networks were flat.

Running a WINS Server and giving all machines the WINS Server IP in their TCP/IP specs (for DHCP you add it as a Scope Option or a Server Option) is the only way you will get it to be even close to consistant,...and even then don't expect perfection.
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pwindellCommented:
Also, just so you know,...it has nothing to do with Active Directory and Active Directory has nothing to do with it.

Whatever is "in" Active directory is going to be listed in an OU or one of the AD Containers in the AD Tree.  Since AD really has nothing to do with "networking" it is easily possible for something to be in AD when it no longer exists on the network, and by the same token something can be on the network and have AD not be aware of it at all.

Active Directory is just a Database, it is an Administrative, Authentication, and Management environment,...it really doesn't have much at all to do with networking,...they are just two completely separate things.
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Craig BeckCommented:
I agree with pwindell - it's useless as a service.  It never works, and across subnets you've no hope!

One thing I would say though - DHCP management must be a nightmare!  Try to consolidate that to just the server issuing IP addresses if you can, however I do understand that you might have things configured as they are for redundancy incase a WAN link fails.
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ChiefITCommented:
A list of computers within Network are populated by NetBIOS broadcasts. If you go to each site, and all computers on that site are on the same broadcast domain, you should see all computers from that site.

Since Netbios is a broadcast protocol, your broadcasts are held to that site's broadcast domain. Netbios is NOT routeable. WINS is used instead to take the netbios broadcasts and populate a WINS database. Then the database is shared / replicated between the other site's WINS servers.

I am going to give you an NT4 article that explains the entire situation. This method is STILL USED today.

The problem being, YOUR PBX may not accommodate wins, nor do you want it to. New PBXs are made for convergence of different technologies but shouldn't be used as a server. Using a PBX as a server would be a mistake.

The article:
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windowsnt/4/server/reskit/en-us/net/chptr3.mspx?mfr=true
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pwindellCommented:
One advantage WINS has beyond the obvious is that it eliminates the Netbios broadcasts.  When a Client has a WINS Server listed in its TCP/IP specs it no longer broadcasts but uses "directed" communication to the WINS Server.  So it can help make traffic more efficient.

You really should use a "real" Active Directory "aware" DHCP Server instead of other devices.  I helps make sure Clients register themselves and update themselves in the AD DNS more dependably.  In fact you should have one DC in each office for that matter,...then you just run DHCP from it.
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Craig BeckCommented:
NetBIOS is still used today, correct - but in environments with AD and DNS it is used less.
It is definitely not a necessity.
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ChiefITCommented:
it is a necessity. Don't let Microsoft fool you with claims that DNS totally took over for Netbios:

Netbios is used for file and print sharing and Server message block. So, it's completely used for CIFS sharing.

It's used for the RPC locator service.

It's used for faxing.

It's used for the NETLOGON SERVICE

It's used for Group Policy broadcasts to the domain comptuers..

It's also used for distributive file share's (however, you can configure DFS to use DNS through this KB article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/244380)

It's also used with a  lot of third party applications, like McAfee Epolicy Orchestrator and Acronis Backup.

I wish Microsoft would fess up that Netbios is still used today on many computer services.

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pwindellCommented:
I always use WINS.
 I never try (and have never tried) to eliminate Netbios.  For me,...adding a WINS Server to the network is "a given".

But the original question was about the consistency of the Computer Browser performance,...yes it uses WINS/Netbios but it is still a completely different discussion.  It is the Computer Browser mechanism (Network Neighborhood, Network Places, and <whatever they decide to call it next week>) that people need to learn to live without.

DNS never took over Netbios,...but WINS did,...when WINS is in use the Netbios Broadcasts are not in use. When a Client has a "WINS Server" listed in it's TCP/IP Specs it uses directed packets sent to and from the WINS Server instead of using Netbios broadcast to "find" a target Client.  Of course there are the WINS Modes that can effect that too.
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ChiefITCommented:
WINS server database is populated through Netbios broadcasts. They work together.

It's exactly like saying DNS client registration is populated by a DNS broadcast from the clients.

DNS was actually modeled after WINS and Netbios.
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ChiefITCommented:
If configured right with Netbios and WINS, the browser service is as solid as DNS is... It's actually VERY consistant. It's just that most people are under the false impression that WINS and NETBIOS are extinct. Nor do they know how to take care of the database, or populate the database of WINS through broadcasts of Netbios, (exactly how DNS does it).
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pwindellCommented:
WINS server database is populated through Netbios broadcasts

No it couldn't be, because Clients across routers could never get themselves populated into the WINS database because their broadcasts would never reach the WINS Server.  The traffic between the Clients and the WINS Server are "routed" and "directed" packets (not broadcast packets) sent specifically to the IP# of the WINS listed in their TCP/IP Specs.  The same with DNS.

But the thread is really about the Computer Browser Service with the Domain Master Browser, the Master Browsers, and the maintained Browse List.  I don't consider it consistent, I have 12 years of working with it that shows it isn't, and MS themselves don't consider it to be consistent and they are the ones that invented it.  I don't think there has ever been a time when every single machine on the LAN properly showed itself in the Browse List all at the same time.
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ChiefITCommented:
Its populated locally and then through WINS replication shared to the other site wins servers..

It's just like the DNS broadcasts populate DNS, then Zone transfers replicate the clients records from other zones or sites.
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pwindellCommented:
Its populated locally and then through WINS replication shared to the other site wins servers..

It's just like the DNS broadcasts populate DNS, then Zone transfers replicate the clients records from other zones or sites.


No. This has nothing to do with having "other" WINS Servers to replicate to.

1 WINS Server  + Multiple Subnets = Client use "directed" packets to communicate with the WINS Server

Even if it was only a single subnet flat network they would still communicate with the WINS Server using "directed packets"

DNS is not broadcast either.  It may be UDP is some scenarios rather then TCP,...but they are still "directed",..not Broadcast.

Now,...Yes,...if you have multiple WINS Servers then they can be setup as "Push/Pull Partner" and will replicate.  But that is only if you have more than one WINS,...however having more than one is not a requirement.  You can run a single WINS Server and it can cover as many subnets as you need it to.

AD DNS Servers do replicate, but it is not using Zone Transfers,...it is using Active Directory Replication to cover the DNS Updates.  You use DNS Zone Transfers when replicating between DNS Server from different Domains to cover a Trust Relationship because Active Directory Replication will not cover that.  You would also use Zone Transfers when dealing with DNS Servers that are not MS Windows based,...or if you use MS DNS Servers in a Non-Domain situation.
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pwindellCommented:
One of the main reasons for using WINS (besides routed networks) is that it eliminates the broadcasts.  If the Clients still used broadcast to communicate with the WINS Server then there is no point in doing it and we've been lied to for years.
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pwindellCommented:
I believe there may be "parts" of the DNS process in certain situations where broadcasts may be used,...but as a whole,...DNS is not a broadcast based mechanism.
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ChiefITCommented:
Ah, that depends on how it's configured:

This gets into the type of configuration you use for WINS. By default, computers use what's called H-node type, when using WINS. H-node stands for Hybrid and uses broadcasts (b-node) first, then point to point (p-node) second... That doesn't mean you can't configure WINS to use strictly (P-node) that will register the client/server in WINS upon boot up with a UDP packet. This simply means the default configuration still sends out netbios broadcasts because the default is the H-node type.

Yes, this is my favorite node type (P-node), because it eliminates the need for broadcasts. However, it's not the default node type for a computers that uses WINS. Currently, the default uses the local netbios cache first, WINS server second, broadcasting (b-node) third, then the local LMHOST file third.

Nevertheless, with the default node type of H-node on clients and servers, you are still using broadcasts. It's simply a secondary means to provide Name to IP resolution, second to WINS.

B-node== Broadcasts
P-node==Point to Point (without the broadcasts)<<--prefered method with a WINS server
M-node==Mixed (broadcast first, then point to point)
H-node==Hybrid (netbios cache, WINS, broadcasts, LMhost file, DNS query to the global name zone)

The browser service is not displaying in "Network" because netbios problems with broadcasts on this subnet, and no WINS server is available with all nodes configured as P-node.

Netbios could be blocked by a firewall, some computers could be competing with the NetBIOS Name Server or domain master browser for the role of domain master browser, Netbios could be disabled, or these computers are on different subnets and netbios broadcasts are not routeable.
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Craig BeckCommented:
@Chief - there's one thing you're forgetting... subnets!

NetBIOS is a broadcast based technology, but this doesn't work in a routed environment.  Nowadays most corporate environments are routed, so it is generally safe to say it's not required.

The only real need for NetBIOS in a network after Windows 2000 is to establish trust relationships between forests - the only other side-effects may be with legacy services (applications) running on your server.

This article explains quite well...

http://www.petri.co.il/disable_netbios_in_w2k_xp_2003.htm
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ChiefITCommented:
Nope, I am not forgetting that:

True, corporate environements are subnetted more and more often. Some even use IPv6 (a point to point tunneling protocol, called a torredo tunnel). That point-to-point connection completely eliminates the broadcast domain if you don't use it in conjunction with IPv4. Have you ever performed an IPconfig /all on an IPv6 enabled computer and seen the tunneling adapters? You may as well have 150 VPN adapter connections instead of 150 tunneling adapters for IPv6.

Without helper protocols broadcasts are lost because they are held to the broadcast domain. This is true for the browser service and it's netbios broadcasts.

A WINS server, much like DNS, populates via a UDP message upon bootup of the client/server. There is very little difference in the structure of WINS and DNS. The model is pretty much the same. Once your comptuer is registered in DNS, HOW DO YOU GET COMPUTERS FROM THE OTHER SUBNETS TO POPULATE IN DNS? The sites communicate through a routeable protocol, and the databases for WINS and DNS are shared on the enterprise sites through replications (AD replication, DNS zone transfers, WINS push/pull replciations).

For Netbios, it's populated by WINS servers on each subnet that share their information through a MSRPC R_WinsGetBrowserNames between site master browsers (usually each site's PDCe).

Bottom line is, Microsoft, states Netbios is not needed. This is true, it's not needed for domain networking, but most people use it because of the computer browser service. DNS can be configured to take over many functions that Netbios is used for by default. For example, you can use the Active Directory Browser (queries AD objects), instead of the Computer Browser (NetBIOS populated). DFS can use DNS, but that requires configurations management.

For a better USER experience, in a domain, Microsoft left some functions like file and print sharing, group policy distribution, RPC location, and the computer browser defaulted to use NetBIOS.

WINS, then extends this from the local broadcast domain to WAN sites, extranets, or even local subnets.

Here are some of those configurations Management needed to effective configure the domain to use DNS rather than NetBIOS:

Configurations Managment:

DFS over DNS:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/244380

IPv6 and DNS coexistance:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc738372%28WS.10%29.aspx

AD browser in lieu of the Computer browser:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/188001

Netbios is not compatible with IPv6:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727013.aspx

What I am saying is, MICROSOFT IS NOT ACHIEVING THEIR GOAL TO COMPLETELY ELIMINATE NETBIOS by using 'DNS. If you disable Netbios Broadcasts, FORGET about the computer browser service.

The Computer Browser Service Explained: (Uses Netbios Broadcasts)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/188001
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Craig BeckCommented:
Some even use IPv6 (a point to point tunneling protocol, called a torredo tunnel).

Incorrect - IPv6 is the updated version of IPv4.  It is not a tunneling protocol and it is not used in 99% of corporate environments yet due to the lack of hardware supporting it in current deployments, and the added administrative overhead.


Have you ever performed an IPconfig /all on an IPv6 enabled computer and seen the tunneling adapters? You may as well have 150 VPN adapter connections instead of 150 tunneling adapters for IPv6.

Yes - I am a MSCE.  I fail to see the relevance here though?!


For a better USER experience, in a domain, Microsoft left some functions like file and print sharing, group policy distribution, RPC location, and the computer browser defaulted to use NetBIOS.

I disagree - Microsoft left the functionality in its product to allow easier configuration for simple services in a flat network.
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ChiefITCommented:
Your right, we are getting off topic with IPv6:

IPv6 has unicast, multicast and anycast. Broadcast has disappeared
as a term, but is considered one form of multicast. Netbios is a broadcast protocol and therefore not supported by IPv6. So, the computer browser will not populate on a TRUE IPv6 LAN, unless working in conjunction with IPv4 that supports broadcast. The relevance again is the computer browser service.
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This author is trying to get all computers to show up on each broadcast domain.  THEN the author wants to share it to other site's broadcast domains to make a fully listed group of computers within a multi-site enterprise organization. So, he sees each site fully listed, but can't get the other sites. This means he needs WINS, that uses a routeable protocol, to share the lists between site Netbios Name servers. OR, in lieu of WINS, he can have an LMHOST file configured on each site master browser to include ALL site master browsers. I have configured it using both methods (WINS or LMHOST).
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"I disagree - Microsoft left the functionality in its product to allow easier configuration for simple services in a flat network."

So, please tell this author how to configure DNS to populate the computer browser service without using Netbios Broadcasts..I stated some services REQUIRE Netbios, others take a lot of configurations management (like CIFS sharing) or a lot of getting use to (like the Active Directory Browser).


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jbishop2446bAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for such a wonderful discussion!

To continue progress in the world of AD, what should we do as a recomendation on:
   Client level LIST or leave blank my two wins servers
   Server level, don't even have WINS enabled.

I have 3 remote office, similar setup but strange home I'll see some workstations some times from user offices and then some never.

Any thoughts to my questions above but being on target?  Thank you so much!
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pwindellCommented:
Pretty simple.

Add the WINS Service to at lest one Server that all machine can reach.

Add that WINS Server IP to all the machines on the LAN.

WINS will help the Browse List populate more dependably.

There really isn't anything else,...it is either going to work dependably,...or it isn't,...usually, in my opinion, it does not.  However it will probably be better than what you have now.
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pwindellCommented:
For DHCP Clients you have to add the WINS option to the DHCP.  It can be done at the Scope Level or at the Server Level depending on what serves your purpose best.

The are two WINS Items to add to DHCP:

044 WINS/NBT Servers  (give IP of WINS Server)
046 WINS/NBT Node Type  (choose the node type)

I usually use "0x8" which is the "H-node" but I imaging there can always be an argument about which node type is better.
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ChiefITCommented:
I agree with adding WINS, because your netbios broadcasts are held to the broadcast domain. WINS helps share the Netbios Name server info between sites. It's a proven method.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Windows_Networking/Internet_Protocols/Net_BIOS_and_NetBEUI/Q_24988326.html

Here's how it works for the browser services, this also includes designating a domain master browser, backup browsers and site master browser rather than relying upon the election process:
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windowsnt/4/server/reskit/en-us/net/chptr3.mspx?mfr=true
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jbishop2446bAuthor Commented:
Thank you everyone
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