Windows computer fails to resolve their names and browse other stations on the LAN


If one morning you find yourself surprised by the fact that you can browse the Internet just fine but your Windows Explorer fails to show you all the other computers on the local network (never mind their shares), read further.
So, you have been assigned (your machine) an IP address, broadcast address, gateway and DNS addresses and everything looks apparently fine. However, if you click on a mapped drive or attempt to type \\computer_name in the Address Bar in Windows Explorer an almost instantaneously pop-up message is displayed saying: “… the network mapped drive has not been restored …” or path/computer not found (those are not the exact error messages, sorry … but you get the picture). Basically you’re not allowed to access those computers by their NetBIOS name (access by IP address works).
Being able to browse the Internet means the DNS resolution was working fine but not for LAN computers. As we don’t have a domain on our network we don’t even need it so it doesn’t actually have to work. The computer names should be resolved by NBNS requests (NetBIOS Name Service). What I could tell clearly by capturing some network traffic with Packetizer is that my station was broadcasting DNS requests but not one NBSN request. No NBNS resolution means no IP address, which means no MAC address, which means you can’t address that computer.
So, why would no NBNS requests be issued by a host. I searched on google: “win xp fails to query NBNS” and found this:
NBNS Name query failure – Why?
Here, another fellow found out that the type of query which is attempted to resolve a name on the network is driven by the Node Type of the host. The Node Type is stored in the registry in either of the following values: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Netbt\Parameters\DhcpNodetype or
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Netbt\Parameters\Nodetype.
Now, even though the poster recommends deleting those values and then reboot, that is really not necessary. What you need to do is to set the node type to the value that suits your situation best and the attempt a Repair on the network adapter.
Our hosts can’t register themselves to the DNS running on the wireless router we use as a gateway so we don’t need DNS resolution for the internal machines. As a result I set the node type to 4 (see the Node Type link for an explanation) which attempts a NBNS broadcast query which if successful avoids another useless DNS request.
Thanks goes to the people who found the time to post about this issue and helped me found a solution for my problem.
Happy New Year!
References:
Can’t access remote computer because the Node type is setup Peer-Peer
http://www.chicagotech.net/Networking/nodetypeissue1.htm

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s