Q

Can I have more than one LAN device acting as the master browser?

I am running a small network in my office using Ethernet 100 on a 3COM Switch (10/100 SuperStack II). For a server, I am using Win NT 4.0 SP6. For workstations, I have two Win2k Professional computers, one XP Professional machine, one XP home and one Win98 client. At the desktop level, I have a small five-port switch (Linksys) where I plug in one each of the XP Professional, XP Home and Win2k Pro clients. These are uplinked to the 3COM...

switch on Cat5 for 35 feet.

On a separate home run (CAT5) to the switch, I have the second Win2k device, on which the length of the home run is about 30-40 feet. At another location, I have a five-port (Linksys) 10/100 switch using uplink to the 3COM switch. This switch provides connectivity for two printers. The server (strictly a file server) running the NT4 is right next to the switch, as is a Cisco 678 router connected to a DSL connection.

When running this environment, the NT server will periodically produce a log that the browser on one of the XP professional or Win2k Professional machines has taken over as the main browser. What happens then is that the lights depicting the activity (traffic) on the LAN switch shows a steady ON, so too does the full duplex connection light (which it is supposed to do). However, this seems to go down the server and the network, because the traffic is constant (or so it appears).

So here is my question: Is the NT server supposed to do this? Does it matter if more than one device on the LAN is listed (or takes control) as the master browser? Am I chasing the correct issue?
There will only be one master browser per network segment. You can force your Win2k Pro or XP clients never to force a browser election by changing the following two registry keys. All usual caveats and warnings regarding the potential dangers of registry editing apply:

System Key:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Parameters]
Value Name: IsDomainMaster, MaintainServerList
Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)
Data Value: No

This was first published in July 2003

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