Gurus how do Windows computers browse network for new computers

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  1. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,557
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #1

    Gurus how do Windows computers browse network for new computers


    Hi folks

    In a Local LAN -- no domain controllers etc -- just in typical Home type or small Office LAN's:

    Using a Linux server in SAMBA one computer always works as "The Master Browser" and any time a new computer logs on to your LAN whether Windows or Linux clients it sends a signal which then registers the IP address of the logged on machine and makes it visible -- just use command systemctl status nmb(d) -l - could be either nmb or nmbd depending on your distro.

    Windows also picks this up and the computers are visible. Not only the Linux server to Windows but all the windows computers to each other and of course any Linux clients too.

    The election as to who is the master browser is usually the first computer that is booted or via the parameter in the [global] section of samba.cnf -- the parameter is os level = xx --the higher the number the higher priority gets in the "master Browser auction" -- i.e who's boss. !!

    With a windows only network how is this managed if computers arrive and leave the LAN and if the local IP address changes as well.

    Further if the Linux network master browser changes local IP (that happens if you either don't assign a fixed local IP address on the router -- doing that is not a good idea anyway or don't change the DHCP lease time to something sensible on your router) any clients are suddenly unable to see the server again until you re-start the SAMBA services.

    I have no idea what happens in a Windows network but there must be some type of "Boss Computer" organising the Network browsing and if the IP address (local) changes then all sorts of problems can arise.

    Any gurus out there who can explain how Windows does Network browsing and is there such a thing as a "master browser" and how does it work when computers join or leave the network.

    Here's the main server on a Linux server NAS as master brower at 192.168.1.27


    Gurus  how do Windows computers browse network for new computers-snapshot3.png

    Now a new Linux client joins and the server (192.168.1.27) registers the Linux client as 192.168.1.23 and it's immediately visible to the whole LAN including windows clients.

    Gurus  how do Windows computers browse network for new computers-snapshot12.png

    How Windows manages this stuff I really have ZERO knowlege- any decent links or explanations

    Perhaps I'm understanding why Windows Networking people are a paid a small fortune -- to me it works like the old NTSC TV system in the states --Never Twice the Same Colour!!!!!.

    Really appreciate some education on this -- Linux networking I can understand but Windows networking to me has evolved little beyond "Gandalf the Wizard" principles !!!!

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Last edited by jimbo45; 25 Jun 2019 at 12:27.
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  2. EdTittel's Avatar
    Posts : 4,129
    Windows 10
       #2

    Master browser is present on Windows 10 Workgroups. You can use this nifty little tool to check: At long last, LANscanner works on Windows 10! | Scottie's Tech.Info
    Here's the current output from my LAN:
    Gurus  how do Windows computers browse network for new computers-image.png
    --Ed--
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  4. hsehestedt's Avatar
    Posts : 2,210
    Windows 10 Pro, 20H2
       #4

    Here's an older document, some of which is outdated now. But there's still a lot of really good info here:

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/pre...(v=technet.10)
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  5. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,557
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
    Thread Starter
       #5

    EdTittel said:
    Master browser is present on Windows 10 Workgroups. You can use this nifty little tool to check: At long last, LANscanner works on Windows 10! | Scottie's Tech.Info
    Here's the current output from my LAN:
    Gurus  how do Windows computers browse network for new computers-image.png
    --Ed--

    Hi there

    @EdTittel

    thanks for that info -- however what happens if the local IP address changes -- does that mean that Windows computers like their Linux counterparts suddenly don't see the master Browser and can this cause the various problems of Windows machines not seeing each other.

    On a Linux network the command smbtree shows similar info to your windows command BTW - it's built in so you don't need any extra stuff.

    @bro67 --thanks for the info but I already know how Samba and Linux stuff works -- my query was what happens in an ALL Windows network --especially if a local LAN address changes and what the Master Browser facilty was like . A totally different problem to that of understanding SAMBA and CIF stuff !!!!

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  6. bro67's Avatar
    Posts : 8,359
    Mac OS Catalina
       #6

    It is the same for all OSís in how CIFS and SaMBa works on a network. Sambaís docís have the best layman documentation out there. You start looking at Technet or even Cisco, you get into really indepth information.

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/desktop/FileIO/microsoft-smb-protocol-and-cifs-protocol-overview

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/openspecs/windows_protocols/ms-brws/bad3829d-a8e9-4a85-aa21-81d50867a77f
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  7. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,557
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Hi folks

    Nobdy seems to have answered the question of what happens in an all Windows network when a new computer comes on line or what happens if a local IP address changes due to dhcp lease time expiry and the DHCP server (router usually) re-assigns the pool of available ip addresses.

    In Linux it's easy -- the master browser listens on a port and when a new linux computer joins a query to the new computer is sent and regstered. If the master browser goes off line then the computer with the highest os level number will take over if its also set to be a master browser. If the server has its ip address changed due to dhcp re-assignment of local ip addresses then you have to re-start the samba daemons (nmb(d) and smb(d)). "Seeeemples" !!

    I've utterly no idea how the auction works in windows - there must be some sort of listening / polling on the network - that's what I'm trying to find out about -- there seems zero relevant documentation on this stuff so presumably it really does operate "as per Gandalf the Wizard". Also if one Windows machine say is operating as a server or as "a master browser equivalent" what happens if its local IP address changes -- do the clients lose connectivity to it and what machine takes over if any as a "Master Browser".

    Also in a Windows network is there any equivalent to re-starting the network (as per the Samba daemons in Linux) without having to re-boot things.

    Making the DHCP lease time long or using fixed local IP addresses gets round the problem but I really want to get 100% away from using fixed IP addresses and am trying to understand how all this wizardry actually functions.

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  8. hsehestedt's Avatar
    Posts : 2,210
    Windows 10 Pro, 20H2
       #8

    This article explains all the details. It explains how and when an election for a master browser takes place, how a system announces itself so that it can be added to the browse list, etc.

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/pre...(v=technet.10)
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  9. shockwaveriderz's Avatar
    Posts : 65
    Windows 10 Pro 1909 18363.959
       #9

    The browser on windows has been replaced with 2 services:
    Function Discovery Provider Host
    The FDPHOST service hosts the Function Discovery (FD) network discovery providers. These FD providers supply network discovery services for the Simple Services Discovery Protocol (SSDP) and Web Services Ė Discovery (WS-D) protocol. Stopping or disabling the FDPHOST service will disable network discovery for these protocols when using FD. When this service is unavailable, network services using FD and relying on these discovery protocols will be unable to find network devices or resources.
    Function Discovery Resource Publication
    Publishes this computer and resources attached to this computer so they can be discovered over the network. If this service is stopped, network resources will no longer be published and they will not be discovered by other computers on the network.

    SMBv1 has been deprecated by Microsoft due to security concerns. If you install SMBv1 you will see a Browser service in services.msc. It can only be installed by using windows features.

    a protocol called "WS-Discovery" (WSD). It's a little-known replacement discovery protocol built into Windows, since Windows Vista. You can disable all three of SMB1, NetBIOS and WINS, and WSD will take over all the discovery they did, and ensure your shares turn up in Explorer as normal - and do a far better job of it as well. Although WSD is not widely known, it has a huge advantage - it's already built into Windows Explorer, and daemons are available for FreeBSD, Linux and other systems. (mDNS might be more widely used, but unless you're on Win10, it doesn't plug into Windows Explorer, like most other discovery methods.)

    FDRP and FDPH use the WS-Discovery protocol.
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  10. hsehestedt's Avatar
    Posts : 2,210
    Windows 10 Pro, 20H2
       #10

    Apparently, LLTD (Link Layer Topology Discovery) is what is now used but I'm having a hard time finding anything other than pure specifications. Will post if I find anything useful.

    If details of the specs are of any interest to you, here is where you can find that info:

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/ope...b-cf7c7869666d
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