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Windows can't see workgroup computers

This is a discussion on Windows can't see workgroup computers within the File and Application Sharing forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hi there, i tried to search the forum, but ended up with some page errors so i thought i'll give


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Old 08-31-2010, 08:06 AM   #1
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Hi there,

i tried to search the forum, but ended up with some page errors so i thought i'll give it a try, maybe someone will be able to give me some advice.

I'm running a mixes network of Windows XP, Windows 7 and Mac OS X computers. All of them are connected by 3 network switches. There's a OS X File Server that's sharing external HDD's to all computers using SMB and AFP. All the windows machines are on the same workgroup, all of the computers have the same network settings (usually received automatically through DHCP).
For some time all was ok, i could see windows machines in my finder window, access their shares and shared printers, the same was using windows machines, i could see other computers in the workgroup and access them if they had anything to share. Although sometimes the list of shared windows machines would disappear from my finder window, but later it would appear and all was ok :)

until recently:

for some reason windows computers can't see other computers, i get the "network name cannot be found" error when trying to list other workgroup computers. i can still access them, if i had mapped the shares on the computer previously, but if there's a new share - i can't reach it.. on my mac i can't see any windows machines, just the file server, i can't get any shared windows printers since os x just can't find any.. i can access the windows machines by connecting directly to them through smb://computername, but not in any other way...

Any idea what could be wrong? i'm kinda lost in locating the problem. I do suspect the new Windows 7 machine, since it's the only one like that, all other PCs are windows XP, maybe Win 7 messed up something in windows workgroup.. but i'm not sure

Thanks in advance for help and comments :)

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Old 08-31-2010, 11:10 AM   #2
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Hello and Welcome to TSF!

Are these computers all wired or mixed (wireless and wired) to your network? Are you using a Network Switch that's plugged in to the router?

Try disabling all Firewalls/Security Software for now on all computers.

From your Windows 7 computer let's lets turn off the Password protection by using the control userpasswords2 command. http://www.computingunleashed.com/tu...rotection.html

From Windows XP, pls do the same thing, here's how.

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Old 08-31-2010, 11:11 AM   #3
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Sounds like master browser issues.

If you suspect one machine caused the issue, try turning all the machines off. With the suspect machine off, restart all the other machines. Give the network 15-20 minutes for the master browser elections to resolve themselves, and see if it works properly. Then turn on the suspect machine and see if it causes the problem again.
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Are these computers all wired or mixed (wireless and wired) to your network? Are you using a Network Switch that's plugged in to the router?
all of the computers are wired except one laptop, which connects through wi-fi, but it has the same problem...
we have a PC with FreeBSD which is configured to act as a router and it's connected to a network switch which in turn is connected to another one and that one to another one :)

router-------->8 port switch----->8 port switch----->4 port switch

and users (and the file server, and the wi-fi router) are connected to the various ports on those switches


Quote:
Sounds like master browser issues.

If you suspect one machine caused the issue, try turning all the machines off. With the suspect machine off, restart all the other machines. Give the network 15-20 minutes for the master browser elections to resolve themselves, and see if it works properly. Then turn on the suspect machine and see if it causes the problem again.
tried that this morning, since i came in early all of the machines where off, so i started all except the win7 machine, but there was no change, everything was still the same "The network name cannot be found"
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwill View Post
Sounds like master browser issues.

If you suspect one machine caused the issue, try turning all the machines off. With the suspect machine off, restart all the other machines. Give the network 15-20 minutes for the master browser elections to resolve themselves, and see if it works properly. Then turn on the suspect machine and see if it causes the problem again.
Thank You! :) your hint helped me to find the culprit. The Mac Server's SMB service was set to act as a Domain Master Browser, unsetting that fixed all up :)

thanks for help :)
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:22 AM   #6
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...but after sometime the problem started again... but i guess there's still some issue with master browser
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:50 AM   #7
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The master browser arrangement is a bit flaky. I've had similar issues at times. I finally made my Synology the master browser and disabled the ability on all the other machines. Since that one is on all the time, it's the logical choice. That solved the issue for me.

If this continues to be an issue, there is a work-around.

Configure the workstations for static IP addresses and put entries in the HOSTS file for each computer name and IP address. This will eliminate the need for name resolution via the computer browser.
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Old 09-01-2010, 11:36 PM   #8
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well as i found out it's called "browser wars" :) the Mac Server would always win the elections for the master browser no matter what, and i couldn't disable it normally since it would always turn on again automatically, so what i did was edit the /etc/smb.conf file so that it wouldn't participate in the election :) it works for now, but we'll see how it goes later.

all this issue made me look for some longterm solution.. since my understanding of networking is quite low, maybe you could share your opinion :)
for a small network 12 computers (5 of them are Windows machines) a better solution would be a workgroup or domain model?
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:35 AM   #9
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If this is for an Office network, I would setup a Domain environment. BUT....you have to know the Domain Controller, Active Directory and Server Roles very well.
Quote:
all this issue made me look for some longterm solution.. since my understanding of networking is quite low, maybe you could share your opinion :)
for a small network 12 computers (5 of them are Windows machines) a better solution would be a workgroup or domain model?

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