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10 Tips: If Your Computer Browser Service Won’t Start

If the Computer Browser service on your Windows system won’t start, it could be due to several reasons such as configuration issues, dependency service problems, or network settings. The Computer Browser service is responsible for maintaining an updated list of computers on your network and supplying this list to client computers upon request, which is crucial in a networked environment, especially in older versions of Windows.

Key Takeaways:

  • Check Service Dependencies: Ensure that services required by the Computer Browser service are running.
  • Network Discovery Settings: Verify that Network Discovery is enabled on your system.
  • Firewall and Network Configuration: Ensure your firewall settings are not blocking the service and that your network is configured correctly.
  • Registry Check: Be cautious but consider checking the registry for correct configuration if you’re experienced with registry editing.
  • Windows Updates: Ensure your system is up-to-date with the latest Windows updates.

1. Service Dependencies

The Computer Browser service depends on other services such as the Server and Workstation services. Use the Services app to ensure these services are running:

  • Open the Run dialog (Windows key + R), type services.msc, and press Enter.
  • Locate the Server and Workstation services and ensure they are set to start Automatically and are running.

2. Enabling Network Discovery

Network Discovery must be enabled for the Computer Browser service to function properly:

  • Go to Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Change advanced sharing settings.
  • Ensure Network Discovery is turned on for your current network profile.

3. Checking Firewall Settings

Ensure that your firewall is not blocking the Computer Browser service. You may need to create an exception for it in your firewall settings.

4. Correct Network Configuration

Ensure your computer is on the correct network and has a valid IP address. Sometimes, setting a static IP address can resolve network-related service issues.

5. Registry Configuration (Advanced)

If you’re comfortable with registry editing, you can check the service’s configuration in the Windows Registry, but be cautious as incorrect changes can cause system issues:

  • Open the Run dialog (Windows key + R), type regedit, and press Enter.
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Parameters.
  • Ensure the MaintainServerList entry is set to Yes or Auto. If you make changes, restart your computer.

6. Windows Updates

Sometimes, service issues can be resolved by updating Windows to the latest version:

  • Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
  • Check for updates and install any available updates.

7. Manual Start

Try starting the Computer Browser service manually from the Services app to see if it returns any specific error messages that can guide further troubleshooting.

8. Network Adapter Drivers

Outdated or corrupted network adapter drivers can cause network services to fail. Check the manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers.

9. System File Checker (SFC)

Corrupted system files might prevent services from starting. Run the System File Checker to repair them:

  • Open Command Prompt as Administrator.
  • Type sfc /scannow and press Enter.

10. Seeking Professional Help

If you’re unable to resolve the issue, consider seeking help from a professional IT service or Microsoft support.


Resolving issues with the Computer Browser service not starting involves checking service dependencies, network settings, and system configurations. Careful troubleshooting, following the steps outlined above, can help identify and solve the problem.


What are the dependencies for the Computer Browser service?

The Computer Browser service typically depends on the Server and Workstation services.

Can Windows Firewall block the Computer Browser service?

Yes, if the service is not allowed through the firewall, it might fail to start.

Is the Computer Browser service necessary on all networks?

The necessity of the Computer Browser service depends on your network setup and whether you’re using older network protocols or systems.

What should I do if none of the troubleshooting steps work?

If the service still won’t start after following these steps, it might be best to consult with a professional IT service or Microsoft support for further assistance.

How do I know if the Computer Browser service is running?

You can check the service status in the Services app (type services.msc in the Run dialog). The status should be set to “Running” if the service is active.


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