Q. What is WINS?

A. WINS stands for Windows Internet Name Service. WINS is a NetBIOS Name Server that registers your NetBIOS names and resolves them to IP addresses.

If you're using NetBIOS over TCP/IP you will need to have WINS running so that each can find out the correct IP address of the other to communicate.

Need to browse over an interdomain network? WINS!

Q. How does WINS work?

A. Once your machine is configured to point at a WINS server (and maybe a second backup WINS server)

  1. Upon start-up, registers your NetBIOS name with WINS. This dynamic update means that you will ALWAYS get the name/IP mapping that is current.

2. If there is already a machine out there with the same name, a request is sent to it by WINS. If it doesn’t respond, you get the OK. If it is out there and alive, you get a negative name acknowledgement.

  1. Need to talk with machine XXX? Send a NetBIOS name query to the WINS server. (no broadcasts! no LMHOSTS!)
  2. If WINS finds a match, it will respond with the correct TCP/IP address of the target machine.

Q. How do I set up WINS?

A. WINS is a server service.

Go to Control Panel->Network->Services and install the Windows Internet Name Service.

If you have any non-WINS clients, add them in as static name->IP mappings.
Configure a WINS Proxy Agent if needed.
Configure WINS support on your DHCP server.

NT Workstation TCP/IP->Properties->WINS add the IP address of the WINS server (and your secondary if you have one).

Q. What is a WINS Proxy Agent?

A. If you have non-WINS machines on your subnet and want them to be visible participants, you will want a Proxy Agent to be active within this subnet.
A WINS Proxy Agent is a WINS client that allows non-WINS clients to participate, by listening for broadcast name requests and then forwards them to a WINS server. It then returns the result to the requesting client.

Use a Registry Editor (e.g. regedt32.exe) to open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\NetBT\Parameters and set the EnableProxy parameter to 1.

Q. How do I configure WINS static entries for a non-WINS client?

A. Go into WINS Manager (under Admin Tools)
Mappings->Static Mappings->Add Mappings enter the NAME and IP ADDRESS of the machine in question. Under TYPE usually you'll just enter as Unique. Now click ADD.

Q. How do I configure WINS to work with DHCP?

A. If the computer is a DHCP client, then at the DHCP server, go into DHCP Administrator (Admin Tools) and add two new SCOPE options:

  1. 044 WINS/NBNS Servers - add the address of WINS server(s)
  2. 046 WINS/NBT Node - configure as 0x8 (H-Node)