Seeking Clarification About The Whole Master Browser Thing

I’ve begun having a problem where my WDTV Live+ doesn’t see the PCs in my workgroup when I turn the wd on. I followed Tony’s tutorial ( and found that PC #1 which used to be my master browser no longer was and PC #3 had usurped the role.  This raises a number of questions:

  1. does it matter which 'puter in the workgroup is the master? (BTW, yes, the wd box is in the same worgroup as the PCs)

  2. how should the computer browser service in XP be configured for those machines that aren’t the master?  I assume the service should be on, but should it be automatic or manual?

  3. what other things could create this problem, i.e., wd not seeing the workgroup machines.

One additiona bit of info - this began happening after I tried hooking up a USB external hd to my Belkin N750 DB wireless router.  The wd saw the attached drive but was incredibly slow in connecting to the files on the drives and videos couldn’t stream because of the slowness.  I removed the drive

A final word on my system configuration - three XP boxes (SP3).  Machine #1 & #2 attached to Belkin router by ethernet and machine #3 connecting wirelessly.  Machine #1 was the master browser and now machine #3 is the master.

ain’t technology fun?

It doesn’t matter which computer is the master browser. Usually, you do not have to configure the browser service. The defaults are usually OK. Usually, the first computer that is turned on (in that workgroup) becomes the master browser. It will usually stay the master browser. However, if you re-boot that computer or shut it off, another compter on the network can take over as master browser. There is a way that you can set a computer to always grab master browser control, but usually that is not set by default.

A lot of wireless routers have the ability to act as master browser. If your router has that ability, it is a good solution. The router will always be the master browser and you will not have to worry about the master browser switching to a different computer as you turn your various computers on and off.