In addition to the Network Neighborhood functionality (contained in Entire Network), My Network Places provides "net crawling" functionality. Similar to a Web crawl, the net crawl feature searches out and provides links to network resources.
The net crawler allows users who may be unfamiliar with networking to have easy, automatically configured access to computers in their workgroup.
The net crawler runs in the following situations:
- Just after startup (after the system becomes available).
- When you open My Network Places.
- When you click F5 in My Network Places.
Crawling is prevented in the following circumstances:
- If more than 10 computers with shared resources are detected; in this case, no shortcuts are created.
- When you are using Dial-Up Networking (DUN) or virtual private network (VPN) connections.
- After the Automatically search for network folders and printers check box is cleared in the Folder Options dialog box in My Network Places.
- The feature is turned off by a policy (registry key).
If there are more than 10 computers visible, the crawler does not create shortcuts.
If you are joined to a workgroup, you cannot browse to your own workgroup unless it is within the first 4,095 workgroups on the network.
Computers that were added to My Network Places by the net crawler but have not been detected on the network in some reasonable time period (about one week) are aged out.
Links to the DUN folder, printers, Home Networking Wizard, and Network Troubleshooters are provided in Web view in My Network Places.
The following registry key contains a list of shared printers discovered by the net crawler:
The following registry key contains a list of shares discovered by the net crawler:
Shortcuts for resources are removed after seven days. The following registry keys maintain the age of a share or printer:
Shortcuts to computers are created as they are enumerated and discovered on the network. The entire network is enumerated, not just the specific workgroup doing a net crawl.
If there are more than 10 shares for a single remote couple, the net crawl creates shortcuts for the first ten shares from newest to oldest.