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What does this error message mean? (It came up in my event log from today.)

The master browser has received a server announcement from the computer ANIRUDH-LAPTOP that believes that it is the master browser for the domain on transport NetBT_Tcpip_{ED21B81D-455D-4FAE-84C8-DF1391CC444D}. The master browser is stopping or an election is being forced.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

This can safely be ignored. It's the result of the Browser service trying to figure out which computer on the network subnet is the most trustworthy. It's a throwback to Windows NT 4 days.

In a peer-to-peer Windows network, Windows computers try to maintain a list of computers on the same network subnet. On each computer maintains it's own list, but also the computers will participate in a "master browser election" on the network which will determine who is the most authoritative computer. An election process can be called for by any computer, and computers seemingly call for elections at the drop of a hat.

If all the computers on your network were running NetBIOS/NetBEUI or IPX/SPX and you lacked a WINS server this would be a much more valuable service, but DNS has essentially completely replaced this service (as well as WINS). If you ever go to Network or My Network Places, the devices you see here were populated by the Browser Service. In my experience, this list is also generally incomplete. Windows 2000 computers don't talk well with Windows XP and later systems, for example, because protocol changed to TCP/IP. Browser doesn't work through most software firewalls, either.

The service is present on Windows Vista and 7, but it is not necessary and is safe to disable. It's there completely for legacy support.

What is Computer Browser Service?

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+1 excellent info. However, one question: If the name of that computer is unfamiliar, and if the Event Log Source column said "bowser" instead of "Browser", should I be worried? –  Mehrdad May 2 '11 at 4:43
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Google says that there is a typo in the Vista LanMan service. It may be in Windows 7 as well. Googling "event log bowser" shows a lot of similar questions. –  Bacon Bits May 2 '11 at 20:55
    
Ah haha that explains it, thanks! –  Mehrdad May 2 '11 at 20:56
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