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I have just purchased three Windows 7 Professional Dell 64-bit PCs for testing prior to upgrading our company’s 120+ PCs from Windows XP Professional.

The setup is a standard domain with a Windows Server 2003 32-bit server.

  • We name each PC XP1 to XP150 so that when users join or leave, I don’t have to rename the PC.

  • We use the Description field to allocate the user’s name to each PC.

  • We also have a share set up on each PC using the user’s name.

When I browse the network using Windows Explorer in XP, I get a useful display.

The left pane showing the PC number and the right pane showing NAME and COMMENTS

So, for example I would see:

XP01                 Fred Bloggs

(Each PC on a new row.)

The right pane is my main tool for administering the network.

I can easily see the PC number and the name of the user.

However, in Windows 7, this seems to have been thrown out of the window and replaced with fields that I do not need and in my case always display the same info.

"Name", "Category", "Workgroup", "Network Location"

In my case the Name column gives the PC number (XP10) etc and all three other columns display identical useless information.

So I can’t see who is using XP10.

When I am in “help desk” mode, I would naturally ask the user’s name and use my remote desktop client to view their screen.

The user isn’t aware of their PC name, so I am finding it impossible to match the user name with a PC number.

Any ideas how to overcome this "by design" change to Windows 7?

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1 Answer 1

I haven't trusted the network browser in Windows since early in the Windows 98 days. It just ended up too slow and unreliable on a network of any size.

Instead, we keep the information in a spreadsheet I can pull up and much of the time is already open on my desktop. More over, I have a little extra macro so that I can click on the machine name or user name in that sheet and it opens up my RDP client directly. This lives on a network share so all the support team is current. The only issue is occasionally the wrong user will have the sheet open and therefore locked for writing.

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