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Windows 7: Random PC's cannot see random other PC's on network

22 May 2017   #1

Windows 7 Pro x64
Random PC's cannot see random other PC's on network


First try at posting a question.
Let me begin by saying that I am not an IT professional even though I have found myself being exactly that for the small company I work for. Iím just a computer geek that knew how to build custom PCís (originally just for myself) and knew more about the functioning of computers than anybody else in the office. Now I find myself responsible for a network of 8 computers (soon to be 10), which on a whole I seem to be able to manage fairly well. Having said that, there is one stubborn, on-going issue that I just cannot figure out, and hopefully someone can enlighten me on the cause.

First let me describe briefly the setup:
- 8 custom built PCís (various brand components)
- 6 Windows 7 Pro x64
- 1 Windows 7 Home x64
- 1 Windows 10 Pro x64
- Netgear ProSafe 24-Port Gigabit Switch (JGS524E)
- ASUS Dual-Band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router (RT-AC68U)
- Fairpoint (local phone co.) Fiber Internet
- All 8 PC's on work network with same name
- All 8 PCís wired to Netgear switch with fixed IPís (192.168.1.XX)
- All 8 PCís running basic version of AVG or Avast
- All 8 PCís running Windows Firewall

The basic issue I am having with the network is that random computers cannot see random other PCís on the network. There is seemingly no decipherable pattern to this, but it is constantly occurring in some configuration. The funny thing is that if I try viewing the network PC's by clicking on "Network" in the start menu, this problem occurs. However, if I try viewing the network through right clicking on network icon on bottom right of taskbar, open Network & Sharing Center, & click on "See Full Map", I can see all of computers. But, the PC's I could not see through the "Network" start menu link, I cannot access by clicking on them.

I have tried countless tweaks I have researched on the web, but no success. Regretfully, since I am not a trained IT pro, the depth of my understanding of the inner workings of a network limits my ability to problem-solve.

I have done many of the basic checks such as:
- Reboot all PCís
- Restart switch & router
- Ensure all PCís have same workgroup name
- Ensure all PCís have unique fixed IP address
- Ensure all PCís have same default gateway & subnet mask
- Ensure all PCís have network discovery turned on
- Ensure all PCís have file and print sharing turned on
- Ensure all PCís have password protected sharing turned off
- tried unchecking IPv6 in adapter properties
- Too many more to list

The latest idea Iíve been working on is the DNS settings. Our internet provider gave me specific DNS servers to reference which I entered in each computer, but I read that perhaps Iím supposed to point to the router on each PC and only enter that info in the router admin. As I said, Iím way beyond my pay grade at this point, so Iím sort of poking in the dark for solutions.

Any ideas?

More than happy to provide any further info as neededÖjust didnít want to get too long winded on original post.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2017   #2

win 8 32 bit

Welcome to the forum. Local network doesn't use DNS it uses NetBIOS which should be running on all PC's. What it does when you look for PC's Windows doesn't look it asks the Master browser for a list of that is out of date you won't get a full list major upgrades can throw it off. Stopping and starting browser service can often bring it back. You need to know which is Master browser
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2017   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64

Thank you so much for your reply samuria.

I remember playing around with the Master Browser at some point, but it did not fix issue. However, I will try again to stop & start the browser service and report back.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

23 May 2017   #4

win 8 32 bit

Try running on all PC's htp:// it show mb
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2017   #5

Windows 7 Pro x64

Hi Samuria,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I used the nirsoft utitlity to find the master browser & restarted the browser service. I wasn't sure if I had to restart the browser service just on the master browser machine or all PC's on network, so I did all. For future reference, do I need to restart the service on all machines or just the master browser PC?

The restarting seemed to do the trick, but I know I went through this process once before. At this point, all PC's can see each other, so I won't worry too much. However, in preparation for the future, what causes the browser service to get all messed-up? Is there a way to prevent from happening again?

I did find that the retail store portion of our business used our office network to hook-up their point-of-sale system to the internet. They are not in our workgroup, but that machine does show-up on the master browser scan & is listed as a master browser as well. Could that be a problem?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Random PC's cannot see random other PC's on network

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