troubleshooting Question

Whither the Network list of computers in Windows Explorer - Windows 10 today and beyond?

Avatar of hypercube
hypercubeFlag for United States of America asked on
Windows 10Windows OSNetworking
8 Comments3 Solutions85 ViewsLast Modified:
OK, so NetBIOS is "going away".....  What does that really mean?  I ask this in the context of the Network display in Windows 10 Windows Explorer.
Lately, the Network display list has been getting flaky.  It's time to illuminate why that is and what to expect in the near future.  Actually, what to expect today.
Now, I am well-experienced with peer-to-peer networks - so that's my focus here.

Regarding the Network list of computers:
I know well the context of NetBIOS and the Master Browser and the historical list of computers in the Network display.
What I don't know is what comes next?
What I don't know is what to expect in the near term with networks of Windows 10 computers.

What I do know is that there has been "flakiness" of the list that's displayed.
What I do know is that lists have changed from 100% NetBIOS to mixed NetBIOS and WSD and now to 100% WSD as the Discovery Method.

And, in the process, the Network list of computers has become flaky.
Some lists are short.
Not all lists, from computer to computer, are the same.
Some lists are long and have but one computer missing (seems like always the same one!).

I have been told numerous times by Experts that NetBIOS "is going away" by 2020. I'm not sure what ALL that means.
Windows 10 continues to display a "NETWORK" list in Windows Explorer doesn't it?
If you elect to show "Discovery Method" as a column in the Network list display, then you will see either NetBIOS or WSD for each computer listed.
(You don't see anything for computers that aren't listed.  :-)  

Lately, I'm seeing lists of all Windows 10 Pro machines with 100% WSD as the Discovery Method.
Yesterday I saw a list with more NetBIOS than WSD by far (about 10 computers in a peer-to-peer network) and there are interaction troubles in that network.

Something is clearly going on but I've not read anything to really explain it.   Perhaps there are some good references?
For example:
"If NetBIOS is going away then is that simply a protocol change in favor of WSD?"
"If NetBIOS is going away and WSD is taking its place (in some sense) then does that mean that the Network list of computers is ALSO going away? Or not?"

Some clarity would really help.

There is a counter-argument:
"You don't really need the Network list"
I say: "BS" because there has always been no better, simple, way to know if the network is "whole".
Sure, I can use NetScanner or some such tool but then I'm an IT guy. What about a more "normal user"?
BTW, the "you don't need the list" argument is colored by the notion that "not all computers are sharing files NOR SHOULD THEY BE". So why does one need to see them on a list?
It occurs to me that this could well be true - but it isn't a complete picture.

Once more: some clarity would really help.
I am left with a vague allusion to the idea that the list is just going away. But the explanations aren't well articulated or justified. In the mean time, there are lots of users who rely on the list for various reasons that really should not be challenged as "old fashioned" should they?  If it's useful then it's legit to ask about it.
Join our community to see this answer!
Unlock 3 Answers and 8 Comments.
Start Free Trial
Learn from the best

Network and collaborate with thousands of CTOs, CISOs, and IT Pros rooting for you and your success.

Andrew Hancock - VMware vExpert
See if this solution works for you by signing up for a 7 day free trial.
Unlock 3 Answers and 8 Comments.
Try for 7 days

”The time we save is the biggest benefit of E-E to our team. What could take multiple guys 2 hours or more each to find is accessed in around 15 minutes on Experts Exchange.

-Mike Kapnisakis, Warner Bros