Computer Browser

The browser service maintains a list of the domain name or workgroup name the computer is in, and the protocol being used for each computer on the network segment being served by the computer running the browser service. On each network segment, a master browser is elected from the group of computers located on the segment that are running the browser service. The primary function of the browser service is to provide a list of computers sharing resources in a client's domain along with a list of other domain and workgroup names across the wide-area network (WAN).

The master browser is responsible for collecting host or server announcements, which are sent as datagrams every 12 minutes by each server on the network segment of the master browser. The master browser instructs the potential browsers for each network segment to become backup browsers. The backup browser on a given network segment provides a browse list to the client computers located in the same segment. On a given network segment, there is only one master browser. All domain controllers other than the PDC are designated as backup browsers. Additionally, one backup browser is allocated for every 32 computers on the network segment.

In pure Active Directory environments, Active Directory itself can display information about available network resources.In versions of Windows that support Computer Browser service, the operating system assigns tasks to specific computers on the network to provide browse services. Any networked computer that can collect, maintain, and distribute a browse list can be a browse server. Computers that are designated as browse servers work together to provide a centralized browse list, which contains a list of all known domains, workgroups, and the set of file servers in the domain to which the computer belongs.

Browse clients on the network access the browse list when users want to view the list of workgroups and domains or the list of servers in a workgroup or domain. When an individual server starts, it announces its presence by sending a broadcast datagram called a host announcement on the subnet. The announcement is received by a master browse server for the workgroup or domain. When the master browse server receives a host announcement from a computer, it adds that computer to the browse list.

Maintains an updated list of computers on the network and supplies this list to computers designated as browsers. If this service is stopped, this list will not be updated or maintained.



C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs

ServiceDll: %SystemRoot%\System32\browser.dll