2. WINS and Browsing the Network

Using WINS does not mean that you can browse the network to find the machine that you want. If the machine is on a different subnet you still may not be able to see it. This often seems to worry people unduly — it seems that we have got used to being able to browse the network to find the machine that we want. However, so long as both machines are using the same WINS server, they will be able to find each other. This behaviour is really very similar to the way in which the DNS works. You cannot browse for linux.ox.ac.uk, but if your PC is set up to use the DNS correctly, you can log into linux.ox.ac.uk or copy files between PC and linux.ox.ac.uk. The fact that we cannot browse for linux.ox.ac.uk doesn’t worry us, so we need to get used to the fact that we cannot necessarily browse for all Microsoft resources in the university. With Windows 2000, Microsoft is moving away from NetBIOS names towards using the DNS for name resolution, so we need to get used to not being able to browse for networked resources.

When browsing the network, leaving aside Novell servers, you may only see workgroups and PCs on the same subnet as your PC. So long as your PC is using the central WINS servers you should be able to access PCs on other subnets even though you cannot browse to them. However there are two factors that may increase the number of PCs that you can see under Network Neighborhood. The first is the networking protocols that are loaded on the PC and the second is the presence of an NT or 2000 domain controller on the subnet.

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