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"Browse Master" Function & Configuration:

Browser Overview:

Hosts involved in Browsing Services can be separated into two distinct groups -

  1. Browser Clients and

  2. Browser Servers (often referred to simply as “Browsers”).

images/bullet2.gifA Browser is a Server maintaining information about Servers & Domains – Primarily the Domain where they reside and the Services they run. Browsers can assume several different roles in their lifetimes, and dynamically switch between them.

images/bullet2.gifWe have two Types of Browser Clients: Workstations and (non-browser) Servers. In the context of Browsing, Workstations query Browsers for the information they contain of available Resources; Servers supply Browsers the information by Registering with them. Note that, at times, Browsers may themselves behave as Browser Clients and query other Browsers. Think of this as a Resource List. Each PC has Resources and this List is browsed to determine that Resource availability to provide quicker access.

Windows follows a hierarchical respect structure as to who has the Browse Resource List. To View this Computer Browser Service on Win2000, go to: Control Panel, Admin Tools, Services, Computer Browser. Description: Maintains an up-to-date list of computers on your network and supplies the list to programs that request it. Read on for further details.

  1. 188001 - Description of the Microsoft Computer Browser Service: The Browser Service maintains a List of Network Resources. This List of Network Resources is provided to Clients viewing Network Resources via Network Neighborhood or the NET VIEW command.

    "The Master Browser is responsible for collecting Host or Server Announcements, which are sent as datagrams every 12 minutes by each Server on the Network Segment of the Master Browser. The Master Browser instructs potential Browsers for each Network Segment to become Backup Browsers. Backup Browser on a given Network Segment provide a Browse List to Client Computers located in the same Segment."


Ever get this type of error in your Logs on Windows 2000?

Event Type: Error
Event Source: MRxSmb
Event Category: None
Event ID: 8003
Date: 5/11/2002
Time: 4:35:54 AM
User: N/A
Computer: PC_1-Name
The master browser has received a server announcement from the computer COMPUTER-2_NAME that believes that it is the master browser for the domain on transport NetBT_Tcpip_{EDD63292-91F4-. The master browser is stopping or an election is being forced.

When 2 or more PC's each think they have the Master Browser List, they argue until resolving this conflict which takes on average 15 minutes before normalcy returns and LAN/WAN access returns. Yes, this is by design!

See: Browser Elections - On any computer with the value of MaintainServerList set to Yes or Auto, the browser service starts when the computer is booted.


Browser Elections...

Quoting from Microsoft TechNet WinXP Pro Resource Kit...

"After the browsing role for a Windows XP Professional–based computer is determined, the computer checks to see if a master browser is present on the domain. If a master browse server does not exist, a browser election determines which computer becomes a master browse server for the workgroup. A browser election occurs when the following circumstances exist:

  1. A computer cannot locate a master browser.
  2. A preferred master browser comes online.
  3. A Windows NT–based domain controller starts.


In a Computer Browser Service context, a Server is any Computer that can provide Resources to the rest of the Network. For example, a Computer that can Share Files or Print Resources with other Computers on the Network is considered a Server in the context of the Browser System even if the Computer is not actively Sharing Resources.

If a Master Browse Server already exists, Windows XP Professional checks the number of computers in the workgroup and the available Browse Servers. If the number of Computers in the Workgroup exceeds the defined ratio of Browse Servers to Computers (typically one Browse Server for every 32 Computers), and the MaintainServerList registry entry is set to Auto, the Master Browser can select a Windows XP Professional–based computer to act as a Backup Browser."


How can this be solved?
  • EventID.Net: Search Event ID Databse by entering Event ID & Event Source.

1.) Always turn systems on in same order. To ensure Master Browser is ready for everyone else!
2.) Always makes SURE the Master Browser (1st) PC Boots 1st.
3.) Wait 15 minutes for Resolution.
4.) There's a 4th way. Since Master Browser is defaulted to Automatic, set other PC's Master Browser function to OFF or Disabled under File & Printer Sharing. Yes, the LAN access will mess up WAN access during Master Browser Resolution.


The following links should help us to understand the Master Browser functionality.

  1. - Windows Network Browse Service: "The Browse Master, maintains the [Network] browse list."
  2. 188305 - Troubleshooting the Microsoft Computer Browser Service: WinNT4 thru Win2000. For the CIFS Browsing Protocol (Common Internet File System), see link below.
  3. 191611 - Symptoms of Multihomed Browsers: "The computer browser service was first introduced in Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.1. The purpose of the browser service is to collect and report the existence of other computers on the network that are sharing file, print, and other resources. The browser service greatly reduces the number of server announcements on a network, and it reduces the overhead of every network client and server because clients and servers do not have to maintain their own list of server resources."
  4. Stop Error: 331484 - Stop 0x48 Occurs When You Stop the Computer Browser Service:
  5. 318030 - You Cannot Access Shared Files and Folders or Browse Computers in the Workgroup:
  6. 262694 - MS00-036- Malicious User Can Shut Down Computer Browser Service:
  7. 321710 - HOW TO- Hide a Windows 2000-Based Computer from the Browser List:
  8. 102878 - Information on Browser Operation: NT 3.1 - Win2000
  9. How Browsing a Wide Area Network Works: NT 3.1 - Win2000
  10. Multihomed Master Browser May Cause Event ID 8021 and 8032: NT 3.1 - Win2000
  11. No Master Browse Server Available with TCP-IP:
  12. Common Questions About Browsing with Windows
  13. Event Msg The Browser Has Forced an Election...
  14. Domain Browsing with TCP-IP and LMHOSTS Files: WFWG 3.1 thru Win2000
  15. Troubleshooting Browsing with Client for Microsoft Networks: Win95
  16. Browsing Domain Master Browsers w- Multiple NICs and Protocols: NT 3.5 - NT 4
  17. Description of the Microsoft Computer Browser Service: Win2000 - WinXP
  18. Troubleshooting the Microsoft Computer Browser Service: NT 4 - Win2000
  19. 262386 - Non-Paged Pool Memory Leak on Master Browser: NT 4 - Win2000
  20. Browsing the Network
  21. Disable “Browse Master” on all but one machine (preferably NT 4.0)
  22. Computer Browser Service: WinXP Embedded "The Computer Browser Service component implements Computer Browsing functionality exposed by Windows through Microsoft Networking. It allows a client machine to Browse its Network Neighborhood for available computers exposing File and Print Sharing Services." Settings, see Windows Resource Kit.
  23. 263307 - MS00-036- Excessive Browser Announcements May Force Computer Shutdown:
  24. 293093 - Browser Causes Computer to Stop Responding: In rare instances.
  25. 288801 - Slow Computer Browsing from Multihomed Clients:
  26. 297789 - How to Disable the Computer Browser Service Throughout a Domain:
  27. 103042 - Event Msg- The Browser Has Forced an Election...:
  28. 150800 - Domain Browsing with TCP/IP and LMHOSTS Files:
  29. 254527 - Browse List Problems When File and Print Sharing Is Not Installed:
  30. 135404 - Multihomed Master Browser May Cause Event ID 8021 and 8032:
  31. 314872 - Browse List Issues on Servers and Clients Include Error Messages About Event ID 8032 and Inability to Browse:
  32. DialUp: 183368 - Requirements to Browse Network with Windows 95-98-Me Dial-Up Networking Client:
  33. Connect to a printer using a browser:
  34. Connect to a printer that is attached to another computer:
DNS Events
Event Logs
File Systems
Network Protocols
Ntldr Is Missing
Stop Error
Web Browsers
Windows Help


Copyright © 1992, 1994, 1995-97, 2000-2001, BuildOrBuy Group Network News!
Web Development, Gill Boyd & Team - Posted 01/18/2001; Updated 03/12/2009