Browsing the Network
When browsing the network via "Network Neighborhood", all systems should show up, which have either to
offer a Shared disk
or printer. But sometimes, not all
systems are displayed, depending on which system is powered on
and which is off. Or you cannot browse the network at all,
getting the message:
||To be able to use the Network Neighborhood, you MUST login to the Network !
So, you need to get this login window, enter your name
(and password, if you
have defined one), and then click on the OK-button.
( If you just press the ESC-key or
click on the Cancel-button, then you are NOT
member of the network, and then Network Neighborhood will
not display anything )
Only systems, which have shared something:
will be displayed in the Network Neighborhood !
Error: "Unable to
Browse the Network"
First, verify that there is a working network connection between
This can also happen, when you are logged in to a NT Domain Server.
Sometimes, after a few minutes (if you do not have the patience
to wait, use Find
Computer), when trying again, the
systems suddenly show up in Network Neighborhood, because it took
the system some time to define, who will be the "Browse-Master":
Although under Windows95 networking, all systems seems to be
"equal", they are not ! (It seems to be like with most
humans: there is always a Chief and the Chief in a Microsoft
Workgroup is called the "Browse-Master" !): ONLY ONE
system in a workgroup keeps track of the information shared on
ALL systems, and when you look into your "Network
Neighborhood", you are asking the Browse-Master to display
the network information.
To view the available resources on the network, which are the SHARED
resources of other systems, at least ONE of the systems of a
workgroup MUST have "File and
Print Sharing for Microsoft Networks" installed AND
SOMETHING must be shared ( only systems, which
share something, can become a Browse-Master ) !
This error-message indicates, that there is currently NO assigned
Browse-Master and the the system in the workgroup are currently
electing a system to become the Browse-Master.
When looking at the Properties of the "File and Print
there is the "Browse Master", which is by default set to
"Automatic", i.e. all systems in workgroup work out
between them, who is the "Chief". But if that
self-declared Chief is down, it will take the other systems a
while to agree on a new Chief.
You can declare yourself one system to become the
"Browse-Master" (by enabling this option), it should be
the system always (or at least most the time) powered-on, then
this option has to be disabled in all other systems of the
However: there are
some rules to follow:
On a Workgroup-Network, systems are rated
according to its software level:
|Windows for Workgroups 3.11
Windows NT Workstation
Windows NT Server
During a BrowseMaster "Election",
a system of a higher rating will ALWAYS
be preferred compared to systems of a lower rating:
Example: If there is a mixture of Windows95 and Windows NT
Workstations in the Workgroup, then only Windows NT Workstations
can be elected to become the BrowseMaster.
Example: A network of Windows95 systems is running, now a Windows
NT Server is switched on. This causes a re-election of the
Browse-Master, as logged by the NT server in its Event-Log:
And what is happening, if you powerdown the system, which is the
Browse-Master? Again, NT4 keeps a record in the Event-Log:
A new system will be elected to become the Browse-Master , but
browsing the Network-Neighborhood may not be possible for a few
Which system is the Browse-Master on a
Windows9x network ?
Microsoft made it very difficult to find out, which system on a
network has been elected to be the Browse-Master. I did not find
any report for networks with NetBEUI or IPX protocol, but at
least for TCP/IP workgroup-networks, you can use the command:
"nbtstat -a <computername>"
The system acting as Browse-Master has the entry
details are described in the Resource-Kit:
(on NT, you can reduce the
updating interval of the
If you have a Windows NT server, you can eliminate the
election process by using (installing ) WINS.
If the list in the Network Neighborhood is not yet update, you
either can wait for the Browse-Master to do his job (which can
take several minutes), or you can use the shortcut by using Find
Enter the name of the system, to which you like to connect (that
is the disadvantage of this method: you MUST know already the
name ! ), and push on "Find Now":
If the system is switched on, it will be located and displayed.
Double-clicking on the found system will display its shared
resources, which now can be mapped to a network-drive.