Specifying Browser Computers

When you start a computer running Windows 2000, the browser service looks in the registry for the entry MaintainServerList to determine whether a computer will become a browser. MaintainServerList is found in the following registry subkey:

\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services \Browser\Parameters

Table I.1 shows the values to which MaintainServerList can be set and the meaning for the computer's participation in browser services.

Table I.1 Allowable Values for the MaintainServerList Registry Entry




This value prevents the computer from participating as a browser.


This value makes the computer a browser. Upon startup, the computer attempts to contact the master browser to get a current browse list. If the master browser cannot be found, the computer will force a browser election. The computer will either be elected master browser or become a backup browser.
This value is the default on a computer running Windows 2000 Server and Windows NT Server.


This value makes the computer a potential browser . It might become a browser, depending on the number of currently active browsers. The master browser notifies this computer whether or not it is to become a backup browser.
This value is the default for computers running Windows 2000 Professional and Windows NT Workstation.

On any computer with the value of MaintainServerList set to Yes or Auto , the browser service starts when the computer is booted.



Do not use a registry editor to edit the registry directly unless you have no alternative. The registry editors bypass the standard safeguards provided by administrative tools. These safeguards prevent you from entering conflicting settings or settings that are likely to degrade performance or damage your system. Editing the registry directly can have serious, unexpected consequences that can prevent the system from starting and require that you reinstall Windows 2000. To configure or customize Windows 2000, use the programs in Microsoft Management Console (MMC) or Control Panel whenever possible.

Another entry in the registry, IsDomainMaster , helps determine which servers become master browsers and backup browsers. Setting the value of the IsDomainMaster entry to True makes the computer a preferred master browser . Any computer running Windows 2000 or Windows NT can be configured as a preferred master browser.

When the browser service is started on the preferred master browser, the browser service forces an election. Preferred master browsers are given priority in elections, which means the preferred master browser always wins the election if no other condition prevents it. This gives an administrator the ability to configure a specific computer as the master browser.

To specify a computer as the preferred master browser, set the value of the IsDomainMaster entry to True . This entry (data type Reg_SZ) appears in the following registry subkey:

\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services \Browser\Parameters

Unless the computer is configured as the preferred master browser, the value of the IsDomainMaster entry is always set to False or No . There is no user interface for making these changes; the registry must be modified using a registry editor (Regedt32.exe or Regedit.exe).