WINS + browsing question

Christopher R. Hertel crh at
Fri Jun 29 20:11:33 GMT 2001

> I'm not sure that this is a general question, so I emailed it to both the 
> samba and samba-technical lists.
> I have a very complicated network setup, with multiple remote subnets, some 
> tunneled in, and other such quirks. I've successfully made all of the 
> machines (some linux some M$) correctly enlist themselves in ONE WINS-server 
> provided by Samba 2.0.x .  I can look at wins.dat, and see all the machines 
> properly listed, with the right IPs, and the correct <1B> designations etc 
> from primary domain masters, and all that jazz.
> HOWEVER... the problem is that this same samba machine never updates its own 
> browse list (browse.dat) from the wins server! So whilst the wins.dat file 
> will have everything, the browse.dat will have very few machines, only the 
> ones that the wins-server can see locally.  Why is this? How can I force the 
> browse list to be updated from the wins server on the SAME machine? I'm 
> experimenting with "remote browse synch", but have had no love yet.
> Many thanks to anyone who can shed light on this subject!


The browse list is *never* updated from the WINS database.  The two are 
quite distinct.

The WINS server (really, an NBNS) is a NetBIOS name to IP address mapping 
service server.  It's job is to return the IP address of any and all 
nodes which have registered a NetBIOS name.  See

for a more complete explanation.

The browse list is a list of the machines which are offering file
services, (plus a list of available workgroups, if you have more than
one).  The sub-system which creates and maintains this list is separate
from the WINS service.  The browse service lives within the NetBIOS
virtual LAN and shouldn't interact with the IP layer.  It does, in fact,
interact with the IP layer, but that's due to bad design and poor
implementation on Microsoft's part--and yes I can back that up.

If there is no Domain Master Browser, then your Samba server will likely 
be elected Local Master Browser, in which case it will only hear local 
service anouncements.  That is, it will only list local file servers, 
and not every node will offer file services.

If you want to see services on other IP subnets, then you need to set up a
Domain Master Browser (DMB).  If you have a Windows NT Domain Controller,
then that machine will appoint itself DMB.  If you do *not* have a DMB, 
you can tell the Samba server to become a DMB and it will syncronize 
browse lists with LMBs on other subnets.  If that happens, your 
browse.dat will get bigger.

Chris -)-----

Christopher R. Hertel -)-----                   University of Minnesota
crh at              Networking and Telecommunications Services

    Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them
    with your choose them as your guides, and following
    them you will reach your destiny.  --Carl Schultz

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