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Requirements for Browsing a Windows Network
Last updated: 2/19/03

Q.  What are the configuration requirements to browse (see) computers and shared resources (files, drives, and printers) on a Windows peer-to-peer network?

A.  The following requirements must be met to browse the Network Neighborhood/My Network Places (share files and printers):

1. You must have at least one of the NetBIOS protocols installed. The NetBIOS protocols are: NetBEUI, IPX/SPX, and TCP/IP. If TCP/IP does not work by itself, go to Start, Setting, Control Panel, Network, select the instance of TCP/IP bound to the network adapter for your local network, Properties, Bindings and be sure the Client for Microsoft Networks and File and Printer Sharing check boxes are checked. They should not be checked for any network adapters used to connect to the Internet.

2. All of the computers must be running a common protocol.

3. You must login to Windows or the Microsoft Client for Windows.

4. A unique computer name must be specified in Network configuration.

5. The workgroup name must be specified in Network configuration and should be the same as the other workstations.

6. File and Print Sharing must be installed to see yourself in Network Neighborhood.  If File and Print Sharing is not listed in Network Configuration on other peers/workstations then you will not be able to view that machine in Network Neighborhood.

7.  For Windows NT/2000/XP, the Computer Browser Service must be running.  It can be verified in Windows 2000, for example, with Start, Settings, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services.  More info on what it does and how to troubleshoot it is in: Description of the Microsoft Computer Browser Service and Troubleshooting the Microsoft Computer Browser Service.

8. If the above requirements have been met, disable or enable Browse Masters. A computer that is infrequently used should not be a Browse Master. There must be at least one Browse Master.

See How to Network Two Windows 95/98 Computers for installation details and for instructions on sharing files and printers. Also, Windows help is useful.

If all else fails, install the NetBEUI protocol in addition to the TCP/IP protocol. If the NetBEUI protocol does not work with Windows 98, see Unable to Browse Network With the NetBEUI Protocol.

Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.