[Samba] can't browse shares on second samba server

Daniel Feenberg feenberg at nber.org
Mon Mar 15 17:06:05 MDT 2010

We have two FreeBSD 8.0 Samba (3.3.9) servers running with 
identical smb.conf files, except for the workgroup and 
netbios parameters. Both serve files flawlessly, but only 
the first is normally visible to browsing by XP and Win7 
clients. Interestingly, if we reboot the first server, 
then the invisible (second) server becomes visible for 
several minutes, but then disappears again and is no 
longer browsable. It still serves files, though. Does this 
odd behavior suggest anything in particular that might be 

I assume there is some problem with "wins" but don't 
understand the relationship between wins and browsing well 
enough to know where to go.

We have tried setting "wins support=yes" on one of 
the machines, but it has no effect.

We have 1) no domain controller 2) one subnet 3) no 
dynamic dns 4) haven't configured clients for wins.

One clue we can't figure out is the response to nmblookup. 
Here is the result for the browseable server:

    nber18# nmblookup -M first-group
    querying first-group on xx.yy.3.255
    xx.yy.3.75 first-group<1d>

xx.yy.3.75 is a Windows 2003 Server box, which is 
reasonable, but the "querying first-group" line doesn't 
describe our network, which is a /23 starting at xx.yy.2.0
and therefore xx.yy.3.255 can't really describe the broadcast 
address for our subnet. I don't know if this has anything 
to do with our real problem, but it caught our attention. 
The response for the second (invisible) server is similar, 
but no server is found:

    nber18# nmblookup -M second-group
    querying second-group on xx.yy.3.255
    name_query failed to find name second-group#1d

It seems to us that the absence of a nameserver could 
possibly explain the loss of browseability, but our 
windows clients don't generally seem to be using the 
server, at least according to the "nbtstat -r" command, 
which usually (but not always) says that "Resolved by Name 
Server" is zero.

We don't really care if name service is provided by Samba 
or Windows, provided our samba shares are browseable.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Daniel Feenberg
feenberg at nber.org

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