Network Neighborhood and the Nethood Folder

 

Few know what that mysterious folder called "Nethood" is all about.  It is a series of shortcut links that are mirrored in your Network Neighborhood !!  They will either show up as lnk files or just simply "target" with WinXP.  The folder location is:

 

Windows\Profiles\Username\NetHood  in Windows 95 and Windows 98

WINNT\Profiles\Username\NetHood  in Windows NT

Documents and Settings\username\nethood in WinXP and 2000

 

Network Neighborhood is comprised of icons that are actually shortcuts to the remote computer or disk drive. These must also appear in your Nethood folder or else the remote computer will not show up in Network Neighborhood.  The properties for each link will take the format:  \\computer\folder

For example, if the remote computer is "john" and the shared drive on his PC is the D drive, the properties of the Nethood folder shortcut will be:     \\john\d

 

How it Works


The Network Neighborhood does not automatically scan and find computers and shared drives.  Refreshing Network Neighborhood by hitting the F5 key doesn't work in the 'obvious' way; you are not doing a 're-scan' of the network. What actually happens is that all PCs on your network periodiaclly 'announce' their presence to one machine which is called the Master Browser.
( This is elected in an automatic, behind the scenes process. ) The Master Browser collects these announcements, and maintains a list of computers called the Browse List. When you look in net 'hood, you are just retrieving the browse list from the Master Browser.

Master Browser Problem

 

This is rare - but if one machine stops announcing itself because it's sleeping, then it will eventually be 'aged' and fall off the browse list. No amount of refreshing will cause it to re-appear, all that does is to retreive the list from the Master Browser. It's down to the sleeping-and-reawakened machine to start re-announcing itself.

It may, or may not, start to re-announce itself when it awakes. It can take some time for the machine to re-announce itself, and hence appear in the browse list. Allow it at least 15 minutes, then see if it appears in Net 'hood. Unfortunately, sometimes the list is never updated - may be that there is no PC that stepped up to the plate to become the Master Browser.

YOU MAY NOT WANT TO WAIT - also, the shortcut in Nethood becomes corrupted, you may not see it in Network Neighborhood, or may see a shortcut that does not work when clicked. So you can force an update manually as follows:

Manually creating Entries in Network Neighborhood using the Nethood Folder


You can create static entries so that your computer does not have to rely on the Master Browser scanning.  For example - if you need to recreate Dad's D drive because the existing shortcut is not working

1) delete the bad shortcut in Nethood
2) Start/Run . . . \\Dad (an Explorer window will pop up with all folders on the PC "Dad")
3) right-click on the remote D folder and drag it to the Nethood folder, release and select "Create Shortcut". The folder will now also appear in Network Neighborhood