Q

After I changed some of my usernames, some of them show the computer as the new name but show the DN

I have inherited a W2K server with W2k workstations for file and print sharing. In trying to change some of the usernames to make sense on the network, I've run across a problem where some of them show the computer name as the new name, and the DNS name as the old name or as no name. How can I go about repairing this conflict? I have assigned IPs on the clients and DHCP is not running, as I'm not confident how to set it up. Also, when I look in the domain on a workstation I sometimes see only six computers, and then ten minutes later, I can see all seventeen. It doesn't seem to relate to the naming problem, though. Any ideas?
This is generally a Computer Browser issue. The Computer Browser is a service that runs on NT and Windows 2000 machines that supports applications and utilities that need to view listings of machines on the network. The list is maintained via a series of broadcasts from the client machines (chatter chatter goes the network). The list of machines is stored on a backup masterbrowser that gets the list from a master browser. The roles of Backup browser and Master browser are determined via an election process when the machines are turned on. The problem is that the ability to become a backup browser is automatically active on all machines upon installation. Thus, workstations can become Master Browsers. If a user shuts down their workstation (being the Master Browser) the listing of computers momentarily disappear from applications like Network neighborhood and NET VIEW commands, making you think there is a problem on the network. Eventually, when a new Master browser is elected, the machine lists reappear. This process is all related to Lan Manager and NetBIOS technology. Generally Windows 2000 machines in a domain with a proper DNS configuration do not need the Computer Browser service to run at all. To fix your case I would do the following: 1) On all Win2000 user workstations edit the following registry key: HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesBrowserParametersMaintainServerList Set it to 'False' without the quotes. Initially this entry is set to Auto. 2) On all Win2000 User Workstations edit the Service 'Computer Browser' to be disabled. You can do this in Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Services. 3) Learn how to use DHCP - it is the best solution for maintaining the IP addresses and TCP/IP configuration of systems on a network.... It's really not that hard when you do it. Now --- editing the registry is not something to fear, but you should certainly exercise a great degree of caution. It is one of the fastest ways to disable a system. If you are hungry for more information on the Computer Browser Service on Windows 2000 look here: http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q188/0/01.ASP
This was first published in October 2001

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