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Peer-to-peer network names

hypercube asked
Last Modified: 2018-02-16
Up to now, we've been quite successful using the Windows "Network" list to find computers on the network.
Occasionally the list would become split and some computers would have short lists at times.  Usually reboooting the master browser would fix this - and this would only happen maybe once a year.  So, it's been acceptable.

Lately, this appears to not be working quite so well.  Some names (like one or two) are just missing but the lists are otherwise fully populated .. so, not exactly "short" as in the past.  If I could figure out how to get them to return to the list then the problem would be solved for now.  So, I guess that could be a question but I'm afraid I know the answer or am afraid that there isn't one as the NetBIOS name service is "deprecated" and not guaranteed to be reliable I'm told.

[Just FYI: In general, we turn off ipv6 so any tools that it may support aren't going to be available.  There have been enough problems apparently "fixed" by turning it OFF - so why tempt fate and for what real purpose(s)?]

Some have suggested using the "hosts" file.  I understand this to a point; at least I know how it works on a single computer.
It's certainly easy to modify and easy to understand.
Because this is a peer-to-peer architecture, without a "Server", how might one coordinate the contents of ALL the hosts files in order to accommodate changes?  

I can imagine loading a common hosts file from a workstation in a server role using something like scheduled xcopy file transfers - but am concerned about accessibility from one computer to another in the case of the hosts files.  

What might you recommend short of adding a Windows Server?  
[We have GFI Languard running but haven't explored its capabilities very far to date.  Might it have update tools for this purpose?].
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