Browsing tips

Some of the most frequently encountered problems with NT networks have to do with browsing. Browsing refers to the act of searching the network for lists of available resources.

In small, non-routed networks, browsing should work "out of the box." For anything larger, you can improve the performance of browsing by taking steps to specify which machines should maintain the browser list. Typically, you will want the Primary Domain Controller (PDC) for a domain to be the browse master. You should also visit every other computer and configure them so they can never become the browse master.

On a Windows NT computer, the Registry values in the key:


determine the browsing role. For the NT computer that is going to be the browse master (usually a PDC), set the following:

0/00IsDomainMaster: "TRUE"

For NT computers that can act as backups to the browse master (usually the BDCs):

0/00MaintainServerList: "Yes"

For all the other NT computers, set the following:

0/00MaintainServerList: "No"

For Windows 95 and 98 machines, go to the Network control panel, select File and printer sharing and Properties. Change Browse Master from Auto to Disabled.

For Windows for Workgroups computers, edit SYSTEM.INI file and add the following line

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to the [Network] selection:


If the entry already exists, and is set to yes or auto, change it to no.

Find out more about Windows NT in a Nutshell

This was first published in May 2000

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