Samba server for Windows LAN name service

In:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/29078131/Peer-to-peer-network-names.html#a42433873

art lee said:
build a samba wins server on and old pc using Linux distro with a sambal gui
and make it the master browser

So, I researched the idea a bit and, it appears that if one were to introduce such a server, it could be connected to the network and take over name service.

Could it be turned off to return to the original "normal"?  That would seem to suggest a very low-risk approach in dealing with LAN single-subnet name service that would be reversible.

Could such a server be set up on a virtual machine?
I have thoughts of setting up a virtual machine on an existing Windows workstation for this purpose.
Seems like this would be the least intrusive approach to a critical system that's in production.

Your thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAsked:
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arnoldCommented:
Yes it can,the issue with virtual deals with the host and whether it will be up when needed.

Ubuntu with mdns might be what you are looking for.

Everything can be reverted by updating the router to stop issuing the "Linux" server's IP for name resolution.


On the subsequent time when the workstation ion reboot they will be back to their older functionality....
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
Yes it can,the issue with virtual deals with the host and whether it will be up when needed.
Yes.  Of course that will always be the issue.
Everything can be reverted by updating the router to stop issuing the "Linux" server's IP for name resolution.
I don't understand.  
"the router?"   Well, maybe I do understand:
Usually I think of DNS as "external" and provided by the router.  And, LAN "name service" as what I'm trying to provide here.  I wasn't trying to combine the two and I don't care to describe LAN name service as "DNS" because it's confusing when the two are separate - as they often are.  Is that it?
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arnoldCommented:
One option is to use mdns on the Linux box that will provide name services which is also how the lan system register and can be accessed.

As you noted, much depends on what your needs are. Commonly on the LAn systems in the same workgroup learn about each other.
The router passing an external DNS server may .....
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
Perhaps I didn't explain well in asking the "router" question:

Our firewall / router / gateway LAN address had been listed on each workstation as the Primary DNS address.  Then, there were public addresses added.  
(Of course the firewall /router / gateway is configured to provide public DNS addresses).

Next we "optimized" the external DNS by listing *only* public addresses on each workstation - thus leaving out the one LAN address of the firewall / router / gateway.

Next we noticed more frequent "gaps" in the Windows Explorer "Network" list of computer names.

Our needs are simply stated: that there be no gaps in the "Netowork" list of computer names.

So, while I would not expect the workstation DNS server settings to affect this, one hypothesis would be that going back to listing the firewall / router / gateway address as the Primary DNS might have an effect.

Also, we have turned off ipv6 re: its connection to the workstation NICs.  Some agree with doing this and others vehemently disagree.  Would turning it back on on the NICs possibly affect this?

Your knowledgeable and considered responses will be greatly valued!
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arnoldCommented:
Gaps in the network display is potentially because some system's have their windows firewall or other internet security application that blocks those checks or they do not have sharing enabled.

Some newer systems also have network discovery services which if not mistaken are often disabled by default, you have to enable through local security policy.

My Appologies, but to what end do you need to see the other systems on the network, are you looking to access resources such as a shared storage or printer, scanner that only that system has access and it shares it with the rest of the network?
What is the significance of that display to the normal operation?

Often, when a computer is connected to a network, to classify the network and a prompt on the option dealing with whether to share .....

The answer to these two question contrary to the "norm" would exclude these systems from appearing.
i.e. your "norm" answer would be to make it a private/work zone. But some users when answering this question, left the  zone as public, more restrictive.
The second prompt deals with whether this system should share resources, the normal answer in your situation should be yes, but some users answered no.
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
We've been doing this for years quite successfully and do know all the things that need to be set in order for it to work.

The USERS, use the Network list to access other computer's files.  Not an easy habit to break.
So, they ask for missing computers to be "fixed" as having missing computers has happened infrequently and, at that, with different symptoms (such as the list was split between two master browsers).  But having one or two computers missing alone is new.

Can we get back to the original question?
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arnoldCommented:
the issue is recent updates could and likely have disabled the SMB1 protocol and that might be what is going on.

It is hard from this vatage point to differentiate between the systems that work and the systems that do not work.

This is the only way to identify why the different behavior.
i.e. whether there is software on one that does not exist on another. .......

it is a comparison for what is going on including making sure the IP segments are the same ,.......
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
Unfortunately the results are inconsistent over time.  Sometimes the list is complete and sometimes not.  It's not possible to predict which computers might be missing from time to time ..(that I've found).

Changing the Master Browser seems to fix it.  (Just turn off or reboot the current Master Browser to force an election and get a new Master Browser).

That updates may be causing some of this is an interesting thought.

Now that I see that WSD *is* the discovery method for all the computers that I can see right now, I wonder if some were in transition to this method in the past?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You can reboot Windows 10 machines as much as you wish. Each one will claim to be Master Browser in a Workgroup
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
John Hurst:  How is this "claim" made?  I don't see it.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Reboot, run Lanscan (you have this I think). It reports the machine you just rebooted as Master Browser.
Start another one. Run Lanscan. It report now it is the Master Browser

I had three simultaneous Master Browsers on my 3 machines.

Dead concept.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I think alternatively, you show US where Windows 10 supports Master Browser. Where (link) do you see this?
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
John Hurst:  My assertion derives from observation.  I *see* it.  And, I think you're making observations also as in:
You can reboot Windows 10 machines as much as you wish. Each one will claim to be Master Browser in a Workgroup
I don't fully understand what you're saying here.  
- Reboot "which" machine?
- Each one will claim .... "which one?  when? claim how?"
- Do you mean that the number of Master Browsers (as observed where?) will continually increase?  I'm not sure when you say "each one will claim".  Well, you did say "simultaneous"....  I've not seen this for years and then at most 2.
My observation so far is this:
If the Network list has computers missing then you can find the ONE Master Browser with Lanscan or with Network Scanner.
If you reboot the computer showing up as Master Browser, then you will likely end up with another SINGLE computer being shown as the Master Browser thereafter.  This often fixes the list.

Moving forward:  I do see that the Discovery Method is showing 100% as WSD.  I'm not sure what the implications of this are.  Right now, I know of no missing computers on the Network list.  Whereas some time way back I was wanting to force NetBIOS, now I imagine one could want to force WSD.  But how is that done?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I see it <from time to time>   <-- is not evidence and not pervasive. The master browser / workgroup list fails as often as it works. This has been observed by you, me and others.

Each one will claim to be Master Browser in a Workgroup I don't fully understand what you're saying here.

I thought I was clear. Take 3 Windows 10 Pro machines and install Lanscan on each one. Shut them all off.

Start 1, run Lanscan, and 1 is master browser. Leave it running. Start 2, run Lanscan, and 2 is also master browser. Leave it running.. Start 3, run Lanscan, and now 3 is master browser. Leave it running. Go back to 1. It is still master browser. Windows 10 does not use this concept that was born in Windows 3.11 for Workgroups.

In a pure Windows 10 network, all discovery is WSD. NetBIOS is not used.

You are taking a fixed and now unchanging set of functions born decades ago against a now ceaseless changing onslaught of Windows 10. My one Insider machine (one of the 3 I used) is quite different from Production Windows 10.

If you reboot the computer showing up as Master Browser, then you will likely end up with another SINGLE computer being shown as the Master Browser thereafter.  This often fixes the list.

In a pure Windows 10 network, not for me. Every reboot changes everything all the time.

I imagine one could want to force WSD.  But how is that done?   <-- It is automatic in an all Windows 10 network.
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
Thanks!
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You are always welcome and I enjoy trying to help you.
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