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Unable to see networked computer

Questions about Networking that deals with wireless cards, ethernet, modems, samba and anything else related to these, including software help. Tutorials for any of these can be posted too.

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Toastrack
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Unable to see networked computer

#1 Postby Toastrack » Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:45 am

I'm having trouble trying to get my Mepis11 machine to see other computers on the network.

I have three machines on my network, using a Belkin router:-
Mepis 11, wired
Windows XP, wired
Windows 7, wireless connected laptop.
Currently wireless security is OFF, to make life simpler until it all works.

All three can access the internet just fine.

The wired Win XP can read files from both the Win 7 wireless Laptop and the wired Mepis 11. OK
The wireless laptop Win 7 can read files from both the Win XP and the Mepis 11. OK.
The wireless laptop can run the printer attached to the Win Xp OK.
The Mepis 11 can read files from the wired XP, OK, BUT it cannot find the laptop WIn 7.

Both windows machines use the same workgroup name (Not a Homegroup!), and the same name is set up on Mepis 11. If, on the Mepis machine in dolphin I go to Network and click on the workgroup name I get a message saying there's a conflict of names.

Can anyone tell me what that conflict might be, and how I can resolve it, please?

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Paul..
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Re: Unable to see networked computer

#2 Postby Paul.. » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:04 pm

Sounds like you may have a conflict in the WINS (Windows Internetworking Name Server) election process. Windows networks elect a Master Browser [nothing to do with web browsers] to sort out the names of workgroups and domains. Sometimes that election process gets messed up.

You can see which machine has been elected as the Master Browser from your M11 machine by typing in this command in a terminal:

nmblookup [name of workgroup in all-caps] -M

It should return an [IP address] [workgroup name] [NETBIOS name type]<---this should be '1d' to show this is the Master Browser.

You can then try disconnecting the XP machine and rebooting the W7 machine to see if it wins the election. You can check again from M11 machine. If W7 machine wins the election, then try reconnecting the XP machine and rebooting and see if it defers to the W7 machine.

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Toastrack
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Re: Unable to see networked computer

#3 Postby Toastrack » Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:43 pm

Thanks for a most helpful reply.

I think you have hit the bullseye.

Setting aside the W7 Laptop for a moment, I find that whichever of the XP or the M11 machines boots up first seems to take control. If the XP machine boots first, then all works well (although the M11 seems slow to respond when looking for the network); but if the M11 machine is the first to boot (which always happens if they are both switched on at the same moment ), then there is the conflict and nmblookup shows only the M11 address ( as 1d ).

1 How can I make the election independent of a race to boot up? Or is this impossible?

2. As a side issue, in the router the Xp and W7 machines are correctly identified by name, but the M11 machine shows as "unknown". How / where can I define the correct description? The identification is correct at the two windows machines - as "Mepis 1".

As a matter of information, the W7 machine is a wireless-connected laptop, and would never be the first to be booted.

I think I have correctly distilled the above info, from numerous tests!

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Re: Unable to see networked computer

#4 Postby timkb4cq » Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:19 pm

Toastrack wrote:1 How can I make the election independent of a race to boot up? Or is this impossible?
Edit /etc/samba/smb.conf and change

Code: Select all

wins support  =  yes
to

Code: Select all

wins support  =  no

That will disable the wins server in Samba. The wins client will run instead.
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Re: Unable to see networked computer

#5 Postby Paul.. » Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:18 pm

Tim's answer should help. Ultimately, the problem (which you point out is likely to be a race condition) can occur when three different versions of software (XP, W7, and Samba) participate in the Master Browser Election. Because they are of different ages and progeny, they each could be using slightly different algorithms for the election process and find themselves in a race condition.

If you have one machine that is on all the time, you can try disabling the WINS stuff on the others. In my case, I have a Synology NAS server running a Samba server with the option to enable WINS server turned on. That seems to help.

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Re: Unable to see networked computer

#6 Postby Toastrack » Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:43 am

Thanks again, the problem has now been solved, one happy user.

There is just one small aspect still remaining:- The Windoze machines see the M11 machine as "Mepis1", which is fine, but the router sees the Host Name as "Unknown". Is there an easy way of correcting this -presumably with the M11 settings?

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Paul..
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Re: Unable to see networked computer

#7 Postby Paul.. » Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:34 am

Toastrack wrote:Thanks again, the problem has now been solved, one happy user.

There is just one small aspect still remaining:- The Windoze machines see the M11 machine as "Mepis1", which is fine, but the router sees the Host Name as "Unknown". Is there an easy way of correcting this -presumably with the M11 settings?


Usually, if you put this line (putting your hostname in the quotes)

Code: Select all

send host-name "yourhostname"


in the DHCP configuration file at /etc/dhcp/dhclient.conf, the router will pick the name up when your M11 machine sends its DHCP messages...some older routers only look for NETBIOS names, though, so this doesn't always work.

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Toastrack
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Re: Unable to see networked computer

#8 Postby Toastrack » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:14 pm

Added the command to the previously-empty dchp.conf, rebooted the machine, and sadly it made no difference.

Toastrack
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Re: Unable to see networked computer

#9 Postby Toastrack » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:33 pm

I discovered that the command should have gone into the dhclient.conf file, not where I had put it. The hostname now appears correctly.

Thanks to those who helped.

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Re: Unable to see networked computer

#10 Postby antiX-Dave » Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:35 pm

Just a note about master browsers.
There is an option to turn master browser on 100% of the time in your samba configuration. Iirc master_browser=yes... this will stop all attempts at querying for the master browser. As most machines that I set this on are servers, they are always running. So I am not sure if being booted after other networked computers would cause issues. As is the case with your setup if I understand correctly.


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