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Can't access workgroup - master browser problem ?

Sometimes, in a Windows workgroup environment the network places, workgroup and shared folders may become inaccessible because of one machine on the network having issues.

This problem is usually caused by the Microsoft Computer Browser Service. It provides a method of locating shared resources within a domain or workgroup environment. The service transparently designates certain workstations or servers as browse servers, which maintain master browse lists,
or directories of all shared resources on the network.

To fix master browser issues under Windows XP:

1. Identify the master browser machine on the network:
The easiest way to accomplish that is downloading the browstat.exe tool from Microsoft, it is a part of the Windows XP Support Tools (choose complete install).

To identify the master browser (once you have the browstat tool installed), drop to command prompt (Start > Run > type: cmd), and run the following command:

browstat status

2. Choose workstations that are often turned off or unreliable to never become the master browser:
To do that, start the registry editor (Start > Run > type: regedit) and navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Parameters\
MaintainServerList (valid entries are: No,Yes,Auto) - set to "No" to prevent machine from becoming the master browser.
isDomainMaster (valid entries are 0,1, or TRUE/FALSE, depending on OS). Set to 0, or FALSE to prevent machine from becoming the master browser.

See also:
MSKB 188305 - Troubleshooting the MS Computer Browser Service


To find the Master Browser under Windows 7 and Vista:

1. Open Command Prompt (elevated if you want to make changes)
2. Type: net view and hit enter
3. Look at the list of computer names. These are the computers on your LAN. Note that the format is \\COMPUTER-NAME
4. For each name in the list, type the following command: nbtstat -a COMPUTER-NAME

One of the results from the nbtstat commands will show a row with "_MSBROWSE_" in it. That means that this computer/device is the Master Browser.


  User Reviews/Comments:
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by anonymous - 2009-08-02 11:46
FYI, Norton's firewall causes the same problem. Though, it was the same error message as a Computer Browsing Service error, the Trust Control page in each computer's Norton Firewall was what needed setting up. Once I set up Trust Control on each connection (both for the wireless and wired connection with each connectionís MAC address) and also added each MAC address defined connection to the Firewall Network Map, file and printer sharing worked universally across the LAN and there is no error due to inability to browse each network computer.
by Neil_H - 2016-02-26 19:41
What kind of "1" WRD, DWRD ?
by Neil_H - 2016-02-26 19:47
What kind of "1" WRD, DWRD ?
When I enter "nbstat" I get :
The list of servers for this workgroup is not currently available

Now what?
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