Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Explorer Network Browsing

The Computer Browser service relies on the SMBv1 protocol to populate the Windows Explorer Network node (also known as “Network Neighborhood”). This legacy protocol is long deprecated, doesn’t route, and has limited security but we all tend to make use of it when looking for a share on a remote computer.

The Change

In Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Windows Server, version 1709 (RS3), the Server Message Block version 1 (SMBv1) network protocol is no longer installed by default. It was superseded by SMBv2 and later protocols starting in 2007. Microsoft publicly deprecated the SMBv1 protocol in 2014 and now in 2017 it looks like we are saying goodbye to it.

The Effect

The Computer Browser service relies on the SMBv1, because of this the service cannot function without SMBv1, it is removed at the same time.

A Workaround (for Windows computers)

However, if you still have to use the Explorer Network in home and small business workgroup environments to locate Windows-based computers, you can follow these steps on your Windows-based computers that no longer use SMBv1:

  1. Start the “Function Discovery Provider Host” and “Function Discovery Resource Publication” services, and then set them to Automatic (Delayed Start).
  2. When you open Explorer Network, enable network discovery when you are prompted.

All Windows devices within that subnet that have these settings will now appear in Network for browsing. This uses the WS-DISCOVERY protocol.

Note Microsoft recommend that you map drives and printers instead of enabling this feature, which still requires searching and browsing for their devices. Mapped resources are easier to locate, require less training, and are safer to use.

Important Microsoft (and every sane system administrator on the world) strongly recommend that you do not reinstall SMBv1. This is because this older protocol has known security issues regarding ransomware and other malware.

Contact your other vendors and manufacturers if their devices still don’t appear in this browse list after the Windows devices appear. It is possible they have this protocol disabled or that they support only SMBv1. Keep spamming them with your troubles, this is the only way they might change things. SMBv1 should have been updated 10 years ago on your device.

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