Introduction to the Browser Service

Users often need to know what domains and computers are accessible from their local computer. Viewing all the network resources available on a network of computers running Microsoft® Windows® 2000 or Microsoft® Windows NT® is called browsing . The Windows browser service maintains a list—called the browse list —of all available domains and servers. The browse list can be viewed using Explorer and is provided by a browser in the domain of the local computer.

note-icon Note

For the purposes of this discussion, the term server refers to any computer that can provide resources to the rest of the network. If a computer running Microsoft® Windows® 95, Microsoft® Windows® 98, Microsoft® Windows® for Workgroup version 3.11, Microsoft® Windows NT® Workstation, or Windows 2000 Professional can share file or print resources with other computers on the network, it is considered a server in the context of the browser system. The computer does not need to be actively sharing resources to be considered a server.

This appendix includes descriptions of the following topics:

  • Roles of browser computers in the browser system.

  • Coordination by browser computers to provide an accurate browse list, even if the master browser fails.

  • Election of the master browser.

  • Application programming interface (API) calls used to register computers for the browser list and to receive the list from the master browser.

  • Browsing across domains.

  • Troubleshooting browser problems.