We introduced you to Windows NT’s
Computer Browser service
in a previous article and explained the different roles that
computers can assume. Now, let’s look at how to tweak this

NT performs most browsing tasks automatically
without any help from the administrator. The election process,
which determines which computer will function as the master
browser, takes place when the following occurs.

  • The primary domain controller (PDC) boots
  • A backup browser is unable to obtain an
    updated browse list from the existing master browser.
  • A computer is unable to obtain a list of
    backup browsers from the master browser.

The master browser is the only elected role. As
we explained last time, the domain master browser is always the
PDC. If the PDC is unavailable, there is no domain master

There are times when you might want to modify
this behavior and interfere with the browsing process. You can do
so by tweaking two registry entries. Open the Registry Editor, and
navigate to


Yes is the default setting for all Windows NT domain controllers.
This configures the computer to function as a backup browser or a
master browser.

Setting this entry to No configures the
computer to function as a nonbrowser. Selecting Auto configures the
computer to become a potential browser, backup browser, or a master
browser. This is the default for all Windows NT servers that are
not domain controllers.


The default setting for all Windows NT computers is False. Setting
this value to True assigns the computer a higher election criteria
value than it would normally have, giving the computer an advantage
in a browser election. This can cause it to become the master
browser if all other computers use the same operating system.

Note: Editing the registry
is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any