The computer browser service has nothing to do with Internet explorer or web browsing. It is a Windows service which helps you find other machines on your local network.

Note: On Windows 2008 R2 the computer browser service is disabled. In a Windows domain the PDC emulator role maintain the Domain Master Browser.

Also it is recommended to install WINS (to store the Domain Master Browser name) in a company if you blocked Netbios broadcast at the router level (in general the case now in most of companies)

Troubleshooting the Microsoft Computer Browser Service:

Event Message:

 In terms of troubleshooting, I found interesting sentences in other articles to describe why network browsing does not work?

“Do you have more than a single network / broadcast domain in your setup? If so, you will need to have a WINS server and set up your clients and your servers to point to it in order to have them all correctly appear in the browsing list.

You should use the browstat.exe tool from the XP SP2 support tools for further troubleshooting – especially to determine your current subnet’s Master Browser and the Domain Master Browser.

Even if you’ve started the Browser service on the Windows Server 2008, it may well be that it is somehow prevented from sending or receiving the NetBT browsing announcements and request packets – if you are using a firewall or have the Windows Firewall enabled consider disabling it for testing purposes

As mentioned, WINS helps out a lot with this.  Does your windows 2008 box have any WINS servers configured under it’s TCP/IP properties?  If you’re not using WINS, and the server / client are on different vlan’s, then I don’t think the XP client will be able to see Windows 2008 box.  Netbios works by broadcasts, and broadcasts aren’t passed across vlans’s typicaly. This is where WINS comes into play.  If they’re on the same subnet, check the TCP/IP properties of the network adapter (on both boxes) and ensure that netbios is set to default.

Try this, from the windows xp box, run the following command “nbtstat -a server”  (server being the name of your windows 2008 R2 box).  if nothing comes back, netbios isn’t working and thus your network places will not work.

Have you run through to verify the XP and server machines are using the same master browser?

Is the firewall on the server using the Domain profile and is the Network Discovery service allowed? “

Description of the Microsoft Computer Browser Service:

Hope that’s helpful