The Browstat Utility from Microsoft

Microsoft gives us the Browstat program, which will show us what browsers you have in your domain / workgroup, at any time. This helps you detect a browser problem, on a LAN with Windows NT/2K/XP.

Introduction

With Windows 95/98/ME, you won’t be able to run browstat. But, you can get some diagnostic information, by running browstat on a Windows NT/2K/XP computer.

Browstat is not provided as a standard component in Windows – you have to download it first. It is available on the web from various independent sources.

Browstat is very small (40K), and needs no complicated install procedure.

  • Download browstat, as above.
  • Copy the downloaded file to any folder in the Path.
  • Run Browstat from a command window:

    browstat status

    Only type the command into a command window – do not do Start – Run – “browstat status…”.

  • If you have any Windows 9x (95, 98, ME) systems on the LAN:
    • Look at the output from the previous step. Note the name of your domain / workgroup.
    • Run an additional command from the command window:

      browstat listwfw workgroup

      Substituting the name of your domain / workgroup for workgroup.

    • For instance, for my domain PChuck, I would run

      browstat listwfw pchuck

  • If you need to produce output to a file, for maybe posting it on the Internet, read about Redirected Output (and Concatenated, Redirected Output, if appropriate).

For more information, read the Microsoft article Troubleshooting the Microsoft Computer Browser Service. There you will find a link to the Microsoft Support Tools package, which includes Browstat. If you just downloaded and installed browstat.exe from an independent source (above), don’t bother to download or install any Microsoft package.

It’s also available as part of the XP Support Tools pack, either on the XP install CD, or from Microsoft, if you have XP SP2 and a validated license. You can install the Support Tools pack, using the Microsoft .msi install, which will put browstat and other programs in a location determined by the install procedure.

If you install the Support Tools pack, you will run browstat (and other tools) from the Support Tools command shell (similar to, but NOT the same as, a Command Window).

  • Hit Start.
  • Hit All Programs.
  • Hit Windows XP Support Tools.
  • Hit Command Shell.

Did you just run browstat, and get output (similar to any one of the examples below?). Ok, fine, continue and examine the output as instructed below. If you ran it, and got no response, or no output, or if a window opened and closed so quickly you couldn’t read anything, please read my article on Using The Command Window. If you ran it, and got “invalid command”, “‘browstat’ is not recognized as an internal or external command…”, or similar, please read my article on Using The Path.

Here are a few examples of the output you might see. Don’t get confused by the fact that browstat refers to your workgroup as a domain. To browstat, a domain and a workgroup are the same thing.

>>Top

A Good Example
Here’s an example of output from “browstat status”, run from 2 computers on my LAN.

(From PChuck1)
Status for domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    Browsing is active on domain.
    Master browser name is: PChuck2
        Master browser is running build 2195
    2 backup servers retrieved from master PChuck2
        \\PChuck1
        \\PChuck2
    There are 2 servers in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    There are 1 domains in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...

(From PChuck2)
Status for domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    Browsing is active on domain.
    Master browser name is: PChuck2
        Master browser is running build 2195
    2 backup servers retrieved from master PChuck2
        \\PChuck1
        \\PChuck2
    There are 2 servers in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    There are 1 domains in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...

This shows me:

  • My domain (workgroup) is WORKGROUP.
  • My master browser is PChuck2.
  • Both PChuck1 and PChuck2 are running the browser.
  • There are 2 servers (ie PChuck1 and PChuck2) in my domain (workgroup).

This is a clean, balanced run. No browser problems indicated here.

>>Top

Multiple Workgroups

(From PChuck1)
Status for domain MSHOME on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    Browsing is NOT active on domain.
    Master name cannot be determined from GetAdapterStatus.

(From PChuck2)
Status for domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    Browsing is active on domain.
    Master browser name is: PChuck2
        Master browser is running build 2195
    1 backup servers retrieved from master PChuck2
        \\PChuck2
    There are 1 servers in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    There are 1 domains in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...

There are 2 problems indicated in this example.

  • PChuck1 is in the MSHome workgroup, while PChuck2 is in the Workgroup workgroup.
  • PChuck1 is not running the browser service. Since there’s no browser running for MSHome, that domain (workgroup) can’t be enumerated.

You simply need to correct the workgroup membership for PChuck1.

>>Top

A Browser Conflict and Gratuitous Protocol

(From PChuck1)
Status for domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NwlnkNb
    Browsing is active on domain.
    Master name cannot be determined from GetAdapterStatus.  Using \\PChuck1
        Master browser is running build 2600
    1 backup servers retrieved from master PChuck1
        \\PChuck1
    There are 1 servers in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NwlnkNb
    There are 1 domains in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NwlnkNb
Status for domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    Browsing is active on domain.
    Master browser name is: PChuck1
        Master browser is running build 2195
    1 backup servers retrieved from master PChuck1
        \\PChuck1
    There are 1 servers in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    There are 1 domains in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
(From PChuck2)
Status for domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    Browsing is active on domain.
    Master browser name is: PChuck2
        Master browser is running build 2195
    2 backup servers retrieved from master PChuck2
        \\PChuck1
        \\PChuck2
    There are 2 servers in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    There are 1 domains in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...

There are 2 problems indicated in the above example.

  • Both PChuck1 and PChuck2 have elected themselves as master browsers.
  • PChuck1 has the IPX/SPX protocol in its stack.

If all computers don’t list the same master browser, you have a problem. You have three choices now.

If browstat identifies the presence of either IPX/SPX or NetBEUI, and if you don’t have one very special physical network setup, you need to cleanup your protocols.

>>Top

Error 53

(From PChuck2)
Status for domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    Browsing is active on domain.
    Master browser name is: PChuck1
        Could not connect to registry, error = 53        Unable to determine build of browser master: 53
    \\\\PChuck1           .  Version:05.01  Flags: 51203 NT POTENTIAL MASTER
    1 backup servers retrieved from master PChuck1
        \\PChuck1
    There are 1 servers in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    There are 1 domains in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...

Browstat is trying to access the registry on the master browser. An error = 53 says that it can’t resolve the name of the master browser. On small LANs, this problem is frequently caused by inconsistently set NetBT.

If the master browser is another computer, it can only do that thru the Remote Registry service. If the other computer is running XP Home (which doesn’t have the RRS), or XP Pro with the RRS stopped, this error is normal. On any computer running XP Pro, make sure that the Remote Registry service is running – Started and Automatic.

If the master browser is running on a computer with XP Pro with the RRS running, or if it’s running another operating system altogether, continue diagnosing. Since we see “Browsing is active on domain”, plus a master browser is identified, we probably don’t have physical connectivity issues, so concentrating on the logical issues would seem more productive.

There are other network components and services, which, if absent, will cause an error = 53.

>>Top

Error = 5
Here’s a normal problem, which typically results from the browser server using Guest authentication.

Status for domain WORKGROUP on transport 
\Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
Browsing is active on domain.
Master browser name is: PChuck1
could not open key in registry, error=5  unable to determine build of browser master:5
\\\\PChuck1.  Version:05.01  Flags:  51203 NT POTENTIAL MASTER
1 backup servers retrieved from master PChuck1 \\PChuck1
    There are 2 servers in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
    There are 1 domains in domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...

With PChuck1 using Guest authentication, and with all other problems resolved, an “error = 5” is a normal condition. Since the only symptom here is the “error = 5” from the attempted registry access, more complex problems are less likely.

>>Top

Unable Because Of Various Problems
Sometimes, you get very cryptic errors.

Status for domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
Browsing is active on domain.
Master browser name is: PChuck1
Could not connect to registry, error = 53 Unable to determine build of browser master: 53
Unable to determine server information for browser master: 64
1 backup servers retrieved from master PChuck1
\\PChuck1
Unable to retrieve server list from PChuck1: 121

In Troubleshooting browser Event ID 8021 and 8032 on master browsers, we are told to use “net helpmsg” to translate these mysterious error codes. Upon doing so for various values, we find some familiar translations.

C:\Documents and Settings\pchuck>net helpmsg 64
The specified network name is no longer available.

C:\Documents and Settings\pchuck>net helpmsg 121
The semaphore timeout period has expired.

C:\Documents and Settings\pchuck>net helpmsg 53
The network path was not found.

C:\Documents and Settings\pchuck>net helpmsg 5
Access is denied.

>>Top

Not Active On Domain
And finally, sometimes you will get a very brief browstat log.

Status for domain WORKGROUP on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_...
Browsing is NOT active on domain.
Master name cannot be determined from GetAdapterStatus.

You have to have an active browser in your LAN, so start by making sure that NetBT is Enabled on all computers.

Next, make sure that at least one computer on your LAN does NOT show this error in browstat. Having done that, you may wish to focus on all possible causes of the “error = 5” and “error = 53”, eliminating the physical issues first. Using Troubleshooting Network Neighborhood Problems as a guide would be useful in this case. You may also benefit from reading The NT Browser.

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


%d bloggers like this: