Windows 7 computers showing up in network as "Media Devices" AND Net View Error 58

A month or so ago, I asked this question:

It seems after a lot of dialog, I didn't really get anywhere.  The idea of underscore characters in the computer names was just a guess and now after the fullness of time doesn't seem to have much of anything to do with what's happening.

I'm now back with the same question plus more.  Just to review:
- This is a peer-to-peer network of mostly Windows 7 Pro systems - and a few Windows 8.1
- The Computer Browser service is running on all of them as far as I know.
- We have 3 separate sites and separate subnets that are running this way.
- These are Work networks entirely.

In two of the three subnets, computers ALL show up as computers.
In the largest of the three, there are currently showing on my workstation:
- 4 computers
- 7 "Media Devices" which are really computers.
- It appears that there are 29 computers on the subnet and they show as computers on another workstation .. or they did until I rebooted it.
- If a computer shows up as a Media Device then opening it shows Playlists, Music, Video, Pictures and NO FILE FOLDERS.
AND it does show the music, pictures, etc. even though media streaming is turned off on that computer!!
- UNC by name works to show the file folders.  i.e.RUN \\[computername]
- Net View results in Error 58 on both workstations... at least right now.

I can access most of the computers remotely.
The ones I've looked in the larger network all have Media Streaming turned off.

So, not only is it annoying to have 2 lists instead of one, it appears that not all of the computers are showing up and one can't get at the shared file folders in the normal way.

I sense that there's something big going on here on this one subnet but I can't figure out what it might be.
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAsked:
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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Can you run and make a screen shot of what it finds or at least summarize what if finds in terms of shares and access point to each PC--you can find this out by clicking on the plus sign (+) under each PC in question. Are all these the same make of PC and are the ones that are showing up as Media Devices the same or different make/model than the others? Do you have network discovery turned on, on all these systems (Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Network and Sharing Center\Advanced sharing settings)?
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
as far as the error 58 goes when you do a net helpmsg 58 it says this "The specified server cannot perform the requested operation" which in most cases for net view is that the browser is not working and/or there is some issues on your network about who the master browser is. I can only assume that in this peer to peer network without an actual server these PCs are constantly trying to determine which one is the master browser or trying to make itself the master browser. It has been a very long time since I have worked with peer to peer networks but I do recall browser issues -- you may want to check into that, how to designate which one will be the master browser. You may also want to try enabling netbios of TCP/IP
Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
lionelmm:  Thanks for the replies!

I tried Advanced IP Scanner in addition to Scottie's LanScan and SoftPerfect Network Scanner netscan.exe and command "net view".
Of the 3, LanScan and Network Scanner seemed to be the best.  
Advanced IP Scanner reported a network printer as the Master - which disagreed with the others.

I have found that moving the Master Browser role around by rebooting the current Master Browser shows that good results can be had.  Yet, some anomalies remain:
- the first of these "reassignments" ended up with my own remote workstation becoming the Master.  And, there was no improvement re: the Network list on this same computer.
- the second of these "reassignments" ended up with a complete list of computers.  See remarks below:

A natural question would be: "How do I update the Network list on a computer?"  (the objective being to pull a new list from the Master Browser).  The answer appears to be to hit the refresh button at the right of the address bar in the Network window.  Otherwise, I've not found anything that tells us when or how often the Network list might be refreshed from the Master Browser.  Having a command line command for this would be nice.  
Anyway, forcing it to refresh seems a good idea.
I'd not done that after my own workstation became the MB and the Network list remained quite short.  I now wonder what might have happened if I'd tried that refresh?
This appears to be a key item in analyzing what's going on.  
I had one computer showing 27 computers in the Network list of computers.
I had a couple of others showing 25.  I could see which were the extra 2 and determined that they were offline.
Refreshing the Network list showing 27 as above fixed this difference directly.
I conclude that this is an important tool when dealing with Network lists!

I'm still somewhat stuck with the issue of Error 58 happening (it's no longer happening).  Since I've never seen it before then perhaps it's not too important.  But I'd sure like to know better what caused it.  
Actually, I believe that netscan.exe worked OK while lanscan.exe and net view both showed the error.  But, I wouldn't guarantee that.

Current status is:
- the Network lists appear to be correct / certainly if refreshed.
- I don't know what caused Error 58 - but it's gone.
- 6 computers that ARE on the Computers list now (this was not the case initially) are repeated on the Network window as Media Devices - which is where I started this adventure.  I'd like those to go away and am very curious re: what causes only those computers to show up as Media Devices.

One clue for the Media Devices list is that not only is the computer name shown but also one of the users for that computer.
And, it appears that the user need not be logged in.  One computer shows up as TWO Media Devices, each with a different username.
I have relatively free remote access to one of those computers and could probably arrange access all the others.
I've not found anything on the one computer that suggests why it should show up as a Media Device other than the currently logged-in user is NOT the user shown on the list.
So the Media Devices showing have something to do with the User / user profile?
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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
I'm  bit confused (sorry), so on this problem network do you have 27 PCs or 6? Since there is thing like a DNS (is there) on your network (not part a generic peer to peer) these are stored by the master browser. I would have to do some additional reading to remind me how and where it maintains that "list" -- it has been 10 or more years since I worked in depth on a peer to peer network (sorry). Will get back to you and also please answer my questions above and also what make and model are the ones that show up as media devices? thanks
Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
lionelmm:  Thanks for hanging in there!

I have found that the Media Devices all had Media Streaming enabled in the Advanced Sharing settings.
Once those are turned off, they go away.
Since this wasn't intended, it took a bit of sleuthing to find and fix.

There are 27 PCs (which now are showing up as Computers as they should) and 6 of them had Media Streaming enabled so they also showed up as Media Devices.
My two cents
Looking at the difference,
P2P communication model allows each network node to be both a client and a server.
In its simplest form, a peer-to-peer (P2P) network is created when two or more PCs are connected and share resources without going through a separate server computer.

On my local area network I have three computer and two of them are on one monitor with a switch and they use my account for both, so in local area network the media services shows for the two computers on my account and the router.
Media servicesWhat is a Local-Area Network (LAN)?

So maybe you need to just look into the connection types to the router possibly?
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
I am glad you caught that in Advanced Sharing; In my initial response I suggested turning on network discovery in that same section but did think about the media steaming options there--my bad but glad you caught it. I believe the error 58 was addressed in my comment above--it is/was a browser issue

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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
lionelmm:  Well, yes, I rather agree that it must be a browser issue but what sort of issue?  How to fix? etc?
Forcing the Master Browser computer to change is my only conclusion re: "how to fix?".
I'm not very comfortable with that because:

Notwithstanding the surprise re: Media Devices, all of the computers on this subnet are set up by the same person with some oversight from me when there are problems.  So things like Network Discovery should all be the same - and always have been when I've checked.  The most common problem is that a computer will identify the LAN as a Public Network - an occurrence that I've not been able to eliminate entirely.  I suspect operator mis-steps when initially connecting or when *it appears* the connection is new thereafter for some reason.

That my own workstation became the Master Browser and yet the Computer list in the Network window remained very short. does trouble me.  Why should that be?  The only thing I can think of is that I didn't refresh that list on the same computer after it became the MB.  Maybe that would have caused it to display something else and indicate that there was nothing wrong with it.
Let's say that were the case.  Then the question goes to the previous MB.  What was wrong with it?  OK, I can accept an unpredictable "bit flip".  If it only happens on occasion then one can live with it.  But, if it happens too often, then one stays concerned.

I *so* wish there were a command or process or tool that would easily allow us to force a particular computer to become the Master Browser instead of only being able to force a computer to NOT be the MB by turning it off or rebooting it and then rolling the dice.
If that were available then I could force my own workstation to demand the role and then we'd see if it's "broken" in that role or not - rather directly.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
You had said earlier that the error 58 has disappeared--is that now no longer true, is the error 58 back?
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Keep in mind that in a work group like your peer to peer network the master browser is determine by the attached systems voting and deciding on which one will be the master browser--it will maintain a list of systems on that network. If that system is shutdown the remaining systems when they can no longer reach the master browser will once again vote and again designate which one will be the master. How the master is chosen depending on several factors (don't recall them all) and there will also be "some" Backup Browsers which will vote again if the master cannot be found. So if you turn off the PC that you know to be the Master then for a period of time "net view" may not work, at least not until the new master browser become designated. Hope that helps.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
here are two links that can add some added info to what I have already said--this first one has more than just info--also has a script solution but that is not my purpose in providing this link as I do not know if this app has any value--only am recommending his exp0lnations about master browser This second link has a good summary under the heading "All replies (9)"
Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
The Error 58 isn't happening right now.  I have no notion that it will reappear and no notion that it won't recur.  
So, I'm trying to learn as much as I can just in case it reappears.

As far as I know at this point (in peer-to-peer networks):
- Media Devices show up if ANY USER (logged in or not) has Media Streaming ON / Not Blocked for all possible sources.  i.e. OFF.
- There is no way to force a Master Browser election (and thus, a change in which computer has that role) short of shutting off or at least rebooting the current Master Browser..
- There is no way to force a *particular* computer to be a Master Browser short of disabling the Computer Browser service on all computers, except the desired one, and rebooting the current Master Browser.  Some suggest that
- If a workstation has a bad Computer list in the Network window, it may be a good idea to refresh from the right end of the address box.  It's not clear how often a workstation may refresh its list and an old list may even survive a change in the Master Browser computer.  I'm not sure of this last part but the refreshing is easy.
I think most of these things are pretty well known.

In addition to Scottie's LanScan, I found SoftPerfect Network Scanner to be quite good re: the information it extracts.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
As stated earlier the error 58 is related to the net view command and been unable to located the master browser see comment Can we please acknowledge that this has been answered -- I think this is now the third time I have tried to explain this to you -- I must not be doing a very good job. Once we have this error 58 taken care of I will continue to the rest of your comments -- thank you.
Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
Yes.  The Error 58 question has been answered.
I was alluding to the root cause not being clear to me.  But that's likely computer-specific and beyond what I'd expect anyone to address.
In other words, if I wonder "what causes Error 58 to occur", then saying that the Master Browser isn't responding is certainly a correct answer.  But if I wonder "why might that be?" then I'm on my own and might remain wondering.  And, if I express that concern it doesn't mean I didn't accept the answer.
I hope I'm being clear.

Thanks for the responses!
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
The why is because this happens when the master browser is unavailable--it happen because in your earlier descriptions you had turned that system off--you are making this more difficult than it needs to be--the why is simply because the master browser is unavailable; either that system is not reachable or it cannot process the request to provide the list of systems on the network -- it is not a unique error to your network only -- this happens even on domains although it is much less likely there. You may want to read up on what the master browser does if you want to be get an more in-depth understanding of why it may not respond.
Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
Knowing what it does is, I think, fairly clear.
However, knowing why it fails is another matter.  Saying that it's unavailable is a step in the right direction but doesn't address the root cause(s).  That's all I was trying to say.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
You have all the possible reason provided to you already so I don't know what else that can be said to satisfy you. You want another reason that does not exist. If the master browser is too busy to process a request you will get this error. If the system with master browser is turned off you will get this error. If you happen to catch the systems "in the middle of" an election you "may" get this error. This is part of the pluses and minuses of a peer to peer network. I don't know what else can be said--the causes have been provided yet you still say "doesn't address the root cause(s)". ?????
k hCommented:
I know this is an old thread, but just wanted to say thank you to the person who suggested enabling the NetBios- I had the same problem and enabling NetBios fixed it immediately- never had the issue again.
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