Server name does not show up under Network

I recently came across this problem where one of our servers would not show up in the “browse list” under the “Network” icon in Windows 7.  I also checked this same issue from other computers Network Neighborhoods and verified it was just this one server “webserver6” which was not showing up.  We are in a standard Windows AD (Active Directory) network here with a DHCP and DNS servers and two domain controllers.  I checked all the settings on those boxes and they all looked fine, so I suspected the issue was solely with that one particular server.

I examined the server (a standard Windows 2008 server box), and all the settings looked fine.  Static IP (yes), correct DNS servers (yes), enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP (yes), so the problem must be somewhere else.

I then checked the services and found that the COMPUTER BROWSER service was disabled.  I set it to automatic and started the service.

Since this particular server is a virutal server under the latest version of Hyper-V.  I shut down the server and checked the settings in the Hyper-V manager.  I noticed that this particular server was set to a “DYNAMIC MAC” address.   I switched that to STATIC.

Rebooted my workstation and “webserver6”.  Wow!  The server now shows up under the Network list.

Here are the steps again in a more formal list:

  1. Check to make sure the server has a static IP
  2. Check to make sure the server is using the correct DNS server (probably your AD domain server)
  3. Make sure NetBIOS over TCP/IP is enabled
  4. Make sure the Computer Browser service is started and set to Automatic
  5. HYPER-V machines:  Check to make sure the network adapter that the server is using is set to a STATIC MAC address.  (Not sure if this one makes any difference, but that type of a server shouldn’t be using a dynamic MAC address anyways).
  6. Reboot the server in question and your local workstation
  7. Server should show up if all the above is OK.

ADDENDUM 12/6/2010:

Another thing to check is your Windows Firewall settings. I had another server that would not show up on the Network list until I turned off the Windows Firewall.  That wasn’t a problem for us because we have a separate firewall that protects our systems.  But you need to use your own judgement and take that action on your own choice.  We aren’t responsible for your systems so I would presume that you know what you are doing and the risks of disabling Windows Firewall.

2 comments

  • Roy

    Thank you, Amixa Web Guru!

    I couldn’t get my WS 2012 R2 to appear anywhere under any “Network” icon, even its own.
    Tried different things for a few days with no success… Then I found the above help.
    Checking the services, I also found the COMPUTER BROWSER service was disabled… Set it to automatic and rebooted the server and client and the server and its shares now magically appear.

    It seems that information about the COMPUTER BROWSER service should be more readily available so thank you for putting it out there.

  • Bernardo Morais

    Thank you very much!

    Like in the Roy case, my computer browser service was also disabled.

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