Optimizing Your Browser Service

For redundancy, I recommend that you always have at least two machines running the Computer Browser service on each network segment. If a segment doesn't contain at least two Windows NT servers, designate an NT workstation as a backup master browser. To make a server appear in the browse list but not participate as a potential browser server (i.e., to create a nonbrowser server), modify the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\ Browser\Parameters\ MaintainServerList Registry key of type REG_SZ and a default value of Auto. Setting this value to No instructs the machine to participate as a nonbrowser server but announce itself to the segment master browser. If you set this value to Yes, the machine acts as a browser server and participates in browser server elections.

To boost the performance of one or more NT systems on a network segment, modify the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\ Services\Browser\Parameters\ IsDomainMaster Registry key of type REG_SZ and a default value of FALSE. Setting this value to TRUE makes the machine a preferred master browser.

Finally, you can hide a machine from the browse list by typing the following command at a command prompt:

net config server /hidden:yes

This command sets the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\Services\ LanmanServer\Parameters\Hidden Registry key to 1. The machine will be accessible as a network server, but users must manually enter Uniform Naming Convention (UNC) pathnames to the server and its shared resources—the machine won't appear in network browse lists. After you make this change, you must stop and restart the Server service or reboot the machine. Also, a machine can take as many as 51 minutes to disappear from the browse list because of the Windows network browsing services' expiration policies.

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