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Inaccessible Windows Workgroup

Something odd happened to my Windows networking. From my Windows XP laptop (opal), I could see the Windows 2000 server (gold), copy files etc, but I could not see any machine in the local workgroup from gold. I would get messages like "Workgroup is not accessible" on attempts to browse the Windows Network.

Googling revealed that one cause of a failure of Windows networking, was Windows deciding to set the NodeType of the network interface to something other than "Hybrid", viz:

Windows 2000 IP Configuration

        Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : gold
        Primary DNS Suffix  . . . . . . . :
        Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Broadcast
        IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
        WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
        DNS Suffix Search List. . . . . . : hydrus.org.uk

A Hybrid node queries the name server first, then broadcasts. Somehow, the NodeType of gold's network interface had been set to Broadcast (which, in fact, obeys the rules described in this Microsoft KnowledgeBase article). No wonder gold could see nothing in the local workgroup.

To force Windows to set up a Hybrid NodeType, the NodeType registry setting must be defined as a DWORD with the value 8 in:

  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Netbt\Parameters

This is shown in the following screenshot:

Registry setting

After this setting was defined and following a reboot, gold could once again see all the machines in the local workgroup. Why gold had stopped working in the first place is unexplained.

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