(Usually) Can't See XP Computers on Network

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Guest, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Our Windows XP computers usually can't be seen by the Wi

    We have a small Windows network, with ethernet and wireless connections.

    Two desktop computers, Windows 2000 Pro, connected via ethernet (3Com

    Two laptops, Windows XP Pro, can connect either via ethernet or wirelessly
    (LinkSys access point).

    LinkSys access point uses WPA-TKIP encryption.

    Desktops can always see themselves and the other desktop on the network, but
    usually can't see the laptops.
    Laptops can usually see the desktops on the network, and sometimes each
    other and themselves (but not always).

    We seem to have somewhat better luck with this when the laptops are using an
    ethernet connection, but still problematic seeing the laptops.

    I don't really know where to start to solve the problem of the disappearing
    Windows XP laptops.

    Any help would be appreciated.
    Guest, Feb 26, 2006
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  2. Possible browser election issue. Try:

    On the laptops go to Administrative Tools/Services. Double click on the
    Computer Browser service and set the Startup type to manual.

    Reboot the laptops and wait - it can take several minutes to obtain a browse

    Doug Sherman
    Doug Sherman [MVP], Feb 27, 2006
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  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I'll setting Computer Browser to Manual. What exactly is "Computer
    Browser", and what effects do the settings have?

    Thanks for your help.
    Guest, Feb 27, 2006
  4. Disabling or not starting the computer browser service prevents the machine
    from participating in master browser elections - thereby eliminating a
    possible conflict. Disabling or not starting this service does not prevent
    the machine from browsing or obtaining a browse list as long as at least one
    machine on the subnet is running the service.

    Doug Sherman
    Doug Sherman [MVP], Feb 27, 2006
  5. Guest

    James Gockel Guest

    Doug, do you know if these issues are going to be fixed in vista? or if they
    will continue as long as Windows uses this type of service?
    It's been too long that I've had to deal with the browsing problems since
    windows 98.

    -James G.
    James Gockel, Feb 27, 2006
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    What are "master browser elections"? What causes the conflict?

    By the way, this seems to have worked - I changed the "Computer Browser"
    setting on the laptop.

    Thanks for your help.
    Guest, Feb 27, 2006
  7. Guest

    Tom Lake Guest

    The "Master Browser" is the machine which keeps the list of all computers on the
    Only one machine should be designated the Master Browser. Usually this machine is
    server which is always on. If more than one machine has the browsing service turned
    an election is supposedly held to decide which machine will provide the list.
    this doesn't work very well. All our problems with computers not being able to see
    the list
    went away when we eliminated all but one machine from Master Browser status.

    Tom Lake
    Tom Lake, Feb 27, 2006
  8. Guest

    James Gockel Guest

    I'd hate to be on that election comittee.,. har har har.
    -James G.
    James Gockel, Feb 27, 2006
  9. I think the issues will remain as long as NetBIOS based browsing remains
    popular - especially when dealing with different Windows versions on the
    same network.

    Doug Sherman
    Doug Sherman [MVP], Feb 27, 2006
  10. The master browser maintains the 'server' (any machines providing shared
    resources) list which is provided to computers seeking to browse the
    network. There are rules which determine the master browser on a given
    network segment, and YES it involves a process called an election. AND its
    not a real democracy - among the candidates all machines are not created
    equal - newer Windows versions get preference. All of this happens by way
    of broadcasts which increases the possibility of collisions and lost packets
    such that that some machines may not get correct information - especially if
    all machines are potential browsers (running the browser service). This can
    result in more than one machine trying to act as a master browser, multiple
    incomplete browse lists, etc. In your case I think the XP machines tried to
    force an election every time they connected and .......... Katherine Harris
    failed to count the votes correctly? You can learn more here:


    Doug Sherman
    Doug Sherman [MVP], Feb 27, 2006
  11. Guest

    James Gockel Guest

    So in other words, "hanging chads"
    Sorry, I know these are bad jokes... but I have to lay them out.
    -James G.
    James Gockel, Feb 27, 2006
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