Windows Browse Master – find PC on wireless network 

 April 25, 2008

By  NickLitten

I had a funny problem at a customer site yesterday where he had a small office setup with one of the PC’s effectively running as a server (using simple folder sharing) and 4 other computers accessing it wirelessly.


Three of these PC’s running Windows XP SP2 and two running Vista SP1. Three hardwired using ethernet and the others wirelessly.


There definitely seemed to be a gremlin in the works when trying to browse the network from any or all of these PC’s. 🙁 They used to be able to see each other and share files and printers, but it was apparently intermittent and had stopped working completely this weekend. Some of the PC’s share files but others just read files. The error message in question was: “[PC/Folder name] is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource.”

I must admit to scratching my head for a long time and playing around with various network settings but to no avail. Luckily searching the internet (with my new and very sleek IBM Thinkpad Z60T over Vodaphone) I found what seems to have been a very simple solution.


There is a service which runs on each machine called Computer Browse Master

This service seems to allow each computer to keep talking to the network to find which other computers are available. Obviously having every PC finding this information then telling every other PC the same thing is a bit overkill. So, by changing the service on each PC to Manual and DISABLED (ie: turning it off) but leaving it ON the server… A mass reboot and Voila!

Sharing is back to normal and every PC’s is browsing the network as usual.

So – you only need to use Computer Browse Master Service on a single PC on your network.

I’m sure it wont hurt leaving it on…. but it certainly fixed the problem when this little network got its digital knickers in a twist.


IBM i Software Developer, Digital Dad, AS400 Anarchist, RPG Modernizer, Shameless Trekkie, Belligerent Nerd, Englishman Abroad and Passionate Eater of Cheese and Biscuits. Nick Litten Dot Com is a mixture of blog posts that can be sometimes serious, frequently playful and probably down-right pointless all in the space of a day. Enjoy your stay, feel free to comment and remember: If at first you don't succeed then skydiving probably isn't a hobby you should look into.

Nick Litten

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