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[Archive] Why Can't I See Some Computers in Microsoft's Network Neighborhood over a VPN?



Article ID: KB4737 KB Last Updated: 29 Jun 2010Version: 3.0
Why Can't I See Some Computers in Microsoft's Network Neighborhood over a VPN?


Note: This article applies to ScreenOS 4.0 and higher.

Microsoft's Network Neighborhood uses local broadcast packets to locate and identify nearby computers. Because of the way Microsoft designed the NetBIOS protocol, these packets cannot travel across a VPN tunnel. As a result, you will only see computers that are local to you.

A solution to this is to configure all clients to use a Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) server. As clients connect and register with the WINS server, they will then become visible to each other on Microsoft's Network Neighborhood. Using Active Directory is also another solution.

An explanation of how WINS and NetBIOS Naming System (NBNS) works is outlined in Microsoft's Knowledge Base Article Q119493.

Additional information on WINS and NBNS can be found by searching Microsoft's Knowledge Base site at

Note: NetScreen is not affiliated with Microsoft, and is not responsible for the content on any of their sites. The above information is provided only as a courtesy to our common customers.

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