Computer Browser Service
Posted: Posted June 30th, 2017 by Moonray
On Wednesday the vast majority of our machines were unable to login. We managed to track this down to being because various services were not starting (some were pretty important ones like Workstation). Once we found that we basically just followed the dependencies until we found which which specific service wasn't running that was causing the rest not to start and it turned out to be the "Computer Browser" service.
This service however would not start because it claims a file is missing. So we ran various commands and shit (like sfc /scannow) and nothing was able to fix it.
After a bit of digging we realised the problem was we had a group policy pushing out a registry edit to remove Workstation's dependency on SMB1 running (which we have disabled for security reasons) and this registry edit was also telling Workstation to still depend upon the Computer Browser service.
So we amended the GP to remove Browser from the registry edit, but unfortunately the damage was done and we had to go around every damned computer in the school and edit the registry ourselves. Any PCs that hadn't yet gone bad were saved but we had no idea which were and were not affected without going to them.
So at the end of the story we got everything working again, but it was a pain in the ass having to spend a day and a half going around every PC (and I feel like we've still missed numerous laptops that staff have).
After doing some research it seems that Microsoft has been phasing out the Computer Browser service for quite some time and we're wondering if a recent Windows Update finally killed the service off for good/ my guess is they probably removed this dependency for Workstation a while back but our GP just put it straight back in there. I feel this situation was probably fairly unique, so I can't blame Microsoft for it, as if we hadn't had that old reg edit we'd probably have been fine :(
I just had to get that off my chest, these past few months have been awful at work. Everything that can go wrong just keeps going wrong >.<
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