How to disable automatic search for network printers and folders in Windows XP

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Article ID: 320138 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q320138
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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to disable the automatic search function for network printers and folders in Microsoft Windows XP.

By default, Windows XP monitors shared resources on the network to make it easier to connect to a shared resource. This feature, which is new in Windows XP, is implemented by periodically scanning the computers on the network. During the scan, Windows XP identifies any newly-shared resources, such as a printer that has just gone online as a shared printer, or a folder that has just been shared.

When Windows XP finds a newly-shared resource, it adds an icon for the resource to My Network Places, and, if the new resource is a printer, also in your Printers and Faxes folder. This is a convenient way for you to keep up to date on the shared resources that are available on the network, and it does not add a great deal of overhead to your Windows XP computer's work load.

However, the apparent convenience of this new feature may not be desirable if you cannot use the information that is gained from the automatic scan for network resources.

Some users have a limited scope to their daily tasks. They only need to have access to one or two shared folders, usually document folders that are stored on file servers that hold documents that are related to their job descriptions. Or, they only need a specific printer, such as the company printer that holds pre-printed invoices, because they work in the Accounts Receivable department. They may not have sufficient permissions to obtain access to some of the shared resources. In these cases, the discovery of new printers and new shared folders is not important or needed.

Some users are running Windows XP on a portable computer, and spend most of their computing time off of the network. Or, perhaps they connect their portable computers to multiple, different networks (either in the company office or at branch office sites). Having Windows XP use any resources at all to perform this chore might be counter-productive. It may be confusing to see an icon in My Network Neighborhood that is not always available.

Method 1: Disable the automatic search for network printers and folders by changing folder options

To disable the automatic search for network printers and folders, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, click Appearance and Themes, and click Folder Options to open the Folder Options dialog box.
  2. Click the View tab.
  3. In the Advanced Settings list, click to clear the Automatically Search for Network Folders and Printers check box.
  4. Click OK.
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NoteThis functionality is disabled if more than 32 computers with shared resources are detected on your network, if you are joined to a domain, if you are using a dial-up or a VPN connection, or if an administrator has disabled the functionality by using Group Policy.


Method 2: Disable the automatic search for network printers and folders by changing the registry key

To change the registry key to disable automatic search for network printers and folders , follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
  2. Locate the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
  3. Right-click System, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  4. Type NoNetCrawling, and then press ENTER.
  5. Double-click NoNetCrawling.
  6. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  7. Close Registry Editor.

Properties

Article ID: 320138 - Last Review: July 15, 2004 - Revision: 1.4
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbhowtomaster kbnetwork KB320138

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