Enterprise Software

Troubleshoot the Computer Browser service

This tip tells you how to solve a common problem with viewing servers in Network Neighborhood.

In recent articles, we've discussed Windows NT's Computer Browser service and the different roles that computers can assume. We also explained how you can tweak the registry to modify this service. Now, let's look at troubleshooting it.

Here's a common problem: Sometimes you can't see all of the servers in Network Neighborhood. You know the servers are still there because you can access them by typing \\computername in the Run dialog box. In this instance, the most obvious problem is the Computer Browser service.

Before you begin troubleshooting, get familiar with the entire browsing process, from the election process to building the list to accessing the list. To help you get started, the NT 4 Resource Kit offers two utilities for troubleshooting browsing problems.

Browser Monitor (Browmon.exe) is a graphical application that displays information about the Computer Browser service on your network. It shows all domains and workgroups on your network and provides additional information about the computers. For example, you can find out which computers are master browsers, which ones are backup browsers, etc.

Browser Monitor also displays some statistics; for example, you can find out the number of server announcements, number of election packets, etc. This utility is easy to use, and it's a good place to start when troubleshooting browsing problems.

While Browstat.exe is similar to Browser Monitor in functionality, you use the Browstat.exe utility from the command line. You can also employ this tool to display statistics and information about the master and backup browsers, force an election on a remote domain, etc.

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