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Obtaining network information

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Does anyone know how to get information about a network you're on, programatically speaking? What I mean is, (for a Windows network more specifically I suppose) how can information such as the names of the machines on the network, their shared directories and contents etc be obtained? Windows can natively perform this "probe" when you search the "Entire Network" and it returns a hierarchy starting with a list of workgroups on the network being primary. How does it do this? I'd like to know what machines are on the network and what devices and files they share. I know this may be a bad question but I'm just not even sure what to search for here.

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Winsock is obvious. As far as I know winsock contains no native support for performing higher-level tasks like retrieving this type of information. That is, nothing in here applies to what I'm trying to figure out.

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