Assuming Master Browser Duties

Windows networks use a system known as the master browser to help maintain browse lists—lists of computers, the workgroups or domains to which they belong, and the types of services they offer. This may sound a lot like the duty of the NBNS system, but it’s not quite the same. The master browser’s list doesn’t include mappings to IP addresses; it’s used by clients to present lists of computers on the local network in network browsers.

In fact, there are two types of master browser: the domain master browser and the local master browser . The domain master browser is most often associated with networks that use an NT domain configuration, and in such configurations, the domain controller takes on this role. If you use a workgroup configuration, chances are you won’t have a domain master browser. All NetBIOS networks have local master browsers, though. Samba provides configuration options that affect its ability to function in both roles.

The Role of the Master Browser

Master browsers maintain lists of computers and the services they offer. In this context, services refers to the types of SMB/CIFS duties they perform, such as file server, NBNS system, and so on. Master browsers don’t maintain lists of the specific shares offered on particular servers; for that detail, clients must contact the servers themselves.

As mentioned earlier, two types of master browsers exist: local master browsers and domain master browsers. Domain master browsers normally ...

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