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Force Server to win the Windows browser election OS X Server
When installing an OSX Server at client locations that required serving to PC's as well as Macs, I ran into problems with PC's winning the browser election instead of the server. Now traditional SAMBA expertise would say that setting the OS level high (like 65 or so) would cause the machine to win the election. But this is no longer true with Win2000 and XP. A Win2000 machine will trump Samba or Win98 regardless of OS level. An XP machine will trump everything else too.

So to solve this you need to edit the registry on the PC's. Here is how I solved it.

On the PCs, go to the "run" command and type in "regedit", then go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Services -> Browser -> Parameters. There are a couple of settings to look at. The results of these settings can be weird sometimes, so you may have to experiment. The two items to look at are IsDomainMaster and MaintainServerList. Microsoft has a good article on it. The basic settings are:
IsDomainMaster = TRUE or FALSE
MaintainServerList = No, Yes, Auto
By default, the workstation should say:
IsDomainMaster = FALSE
MaintainServerList = AUTO
However, I've seen it other things, and I've seen workstations override domain controllers in the elections. For the machines you want to be master (for your OSX server to win the election, NONE of them can be master), set them to TRUE and YES. For the others, leave them at FALSE and AUTO.

If you find a machine that keeps taking over as master, set it to FALSE and NO. We tried setting all the workstations to FALSE and NO and we then ended up with erratic browse listings. So we set them back to FALSE and AUTO.

[robg adds: Sorry, no value add on this one from me (and I hope I didn't introduce any errors while editing it!), but I hope this helps those of you that may have experienced this problem...]
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Force Server to win the Windows browser election | 4 comments | Create New Account
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Force Server to win the Windows browser election
Authored by: zaphon on Feb 27, '03 12:47:42PM

I'm not sure about Samba on OS X, but I run Samba as a PDC (on FreeBSD) here at the company I work for, and we have Windows 98 - Windows XP clients, and we have the OS level set to 255 and have NEVER seen a problem with Samba not winning the master browser.



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Force Server to win the Windows browser election
Authored by: CaptCosmic on Feb 27, '03 03:53:41PM

I imagine your lack of browser election problems stems from the fact that you have made the Samba server the PDC. In the Windows world, the PDC always wins no matter what.

---
Capt Cosmic



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Force Server to win the Windows browser election
Authored by: marczak on Feb 27, '03 07:46:39PM

What you're really looking for are the 'master browser' and 'os level' parameters in your smb.conf file (usually at /private/etc/smb.conf). The apple supplied smb.conf doesn't have these parameters in by default. You should really check out the documentation at samba.org. Having to change registry keys on each client machine is flat-out wrong! Plus, it's a lot of work.



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Force Server to win the Windows browser election
Authored by: marczak on Feb 27, '03 07:48:43PM

...additionally: set up a Win 2K server with Active Directory (yes, even if it's the only server). It'll always win then.

I've never seen XP win the election over 2K server.



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