You are currently offline, waiting for your internet to reconnect

Windows Clients Not Able to Browse Remote Workgroups

This article was previously published under Q149941
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
Windows NT, Windows 95/98, and Windows for Workgroups (WFWG) workgroup clientsare not able to browse remote workgroups across routers using the TCP/IPprotocol. Workgroup clients can, however, browse remote domains undercertain configurations described in this article. However, domain clientscan browse remote workgroups in subnets with domain clients present.
In this article, a domain client is a Windows for Workgroups, Windows95/98 or Windows NT workstation; or a Windows NT stand-alone server computerthat is a member of a domain. For a WFWG and Windows 95/98 WINS client, if theworkgroup name is the same as one of the domain names in the network, theworkgroup name automatically becomes a member of that domain. A workgroupclient is a member of a workgroup.

In a big network with multiple domains and workgroups spread across severalsubnets separated by routers, browsing can become complex and hence itbecomes necessary to understand the techniques of browsing to troubleshootbrowser-related problems. When all workstations and servers are WINSenabled, if there are no workgroups in the entire network, all clientswill be able to browse every other domain and members of those domains inthe network.

When there are workgroups in the network, workgroup clients will notbe able to see remote workgroups and members in those workgroups. This isbecause workgroups are not WAN aware and workgroups separated by routersare considered to be discrete workgroups even if they have the same name.This is by design and is an expected behavior. Workgroup clients canhowever browse remote domains provided there is at least one member of theremote domain on the local subnet. This domain member announces thepresence of that domain on its subnet and thus workgroup clients know aboutthe existence of that domain and will get the browse list from that domainmember that is also a master browser for that domain on that subnet.

Domain members, however, can browse a remote workgroup, provided there isatleast one domain member on the remote subnet where the workgroup islocated. This domain member includes in its browse list the workgroupname it sees on its network and sends that list to the domain masterbrowser, which is the primary domain controller (PDC) of that domain. Thedomain master browser in turn sends that list to every other masterbrowser in remote subnets. Thus, all other subnets having members of thatdomain will know this workgroup exists. Because workgroups do nothave a concept of domain master browser, this technique will not work forworkgroup members and so they cannot browse remote workgroups.

120151Browsing a Wide Area Network with WINS

wins subnet browsing workgroups domain wfw

Article ID: 149941 - Last Review: 02/28/2014 08:02:29 - Revision: 2.3

Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5, Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51, Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition, Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5, Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51, Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition, Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.2, Microsoft TCP/IP-32 for Windows for Workgroups 1.0, Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition

  • kbnosurvey kbarchive kbnetwork KB149941