Browsing was developed by Microsoft to help users find shared resources on the network. In a networked computing environment where users can add or remove shares at any time, it is important to have some automatic means of keeping track of the shared resources and allowing users to “browse” through them to find the ones they wish to use.
Before browsing was added to SMB networking, when anyone added a new share, the people with whom they wished to share the data or printer would have to be informed of the share’s UNC, using some relatively low-tech method such as speaking to them in person or over the phone, or sending email. Already, this was very inconvenient in large organizations. To further complicate matters, the users working on client computers had to type in the share’s UNC to connect to it. The only way to get around typing in the share’s UNC every time it was used was to map a network drive to it, and with a large number of shares on the network, this could easily get out of hand.
To keep things simple, we will first describe network browsing in a network that contains only Windows systems and then show you how to add a Samba server.
The basic way browsing works is that one computer in the network takes on the role of the master browser (also called local master browser , browse master , or browse server ) and keeps a list of all the computers on the local subnet that are acting as SMB servers. The list of computers is called the ...