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"Murphy was an optimist!"

The local area network issue October 7, 2009 8:57 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Hardware, Technology
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My home network has my development servers on it. One is an antique Windows 2000 server which is currently out of commission for bad memory, and the other is a Ubuntu Linux workstation tweaked to run SAMBA, PHP, MySQL etc. Used to be any machine on the LAN could open up Windows Explorer (or Ubuntu’s Places) and surf to another machine: My Network Places -> Entire Network -> Microsoft Windows Network -> Workgroup and then see all the machines on the network and browse to a shared folder. Now I get an error message:

Workgroup is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions.

The list of server for this workgroup is not currently available.

And from Linux (Places->Network->Windows Network):

Unable to mount location

Failed to retrieve share list from server

It’s conceivable that the Windows 2000 server was acting as a domain controller but the LAN is setup on workgroups not domains. Let’s assume the source of this problem is the now semi-retired Windows 2000 server. My home router is a D-LINK DIR-615. So the challenge is to get either the router or the Linux box to fill whatever role the Windows 2000 server used to perform to make my network browseable. Please note that if I refer to the machines specifically, I can still work with files from that machine. So \\mickymouse\familypics would still allow the family pictures to be seen all over the house. The problem is the same for printer sharing. I cannot browse to a shared printer but if I know the \\machinename\sharename I can setup a remote machine to print to the shared printer.

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1. Jon - October 12, 2009

The problem is, your 2000 server was acting as the Browser Master. It filled the role of answering WINS/NetBIOS questions. Now that it is missing, the remaining Windows machines have to elect a master browser. If they are all XP or equal level OS, then you could run into a problem of them fighting over the role or the role bouncing around as machines are rebooted or powered off.

You can force elections and spoof senority through a registry hack.

You should find a suitable solution to your, if still existing, woes by Googling the topic of “Master Browser”.


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