Server name does not show up under Network

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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.

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