Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

WINS in the Mix

WINS is still around in Windows Server 2003 for backward-compatibility with older programs and client systems still used in some enterprises. You can add it to your Windows Server 2003 system through the Configure Your Server Wizard or by clicking Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs, Add/Remove Windows Components.

Only a couple of new features have been added to WINS (sometimes referred to as a NetBIOS name server) since the updates released in Windows 2000 Server. In Windows Server 2003, WINS has new filtering and search functions; to help you locate records, only those records that fit search criteria you have set are shown. Some of the available search filters include record owner, record type, NetBIOS name, and IP address with or without subnet mask.

When administrators are configuring a domain's replication strategy, they can define a list that controls the source of incoming name records during pull replication between WINS servers. They can also accept only name records owned by specific WINS servers during replication and exclude the name records of all other WINS servers.

The Windows Server 2003 DNS service enables administrators to configure WINS servers to look up hostnames not found in the DNS domain namespace. To do this, NetBIOS namespaces managed by WINS are checked, so systems that cannot query WINS directly can still resolve a system NetBIOS name to find the resource in WINS via DNS.

You can use WINS forward lookup resource records with a name query to WINS servers as a way to get further name resolution when machine names aren't found in DNS. The Windows Server 2003 WINS service supports WINS clients running on the following platforms:

  • Windows Server 2003 (all versions including 64-bit)

  • Windows XP (all versions including 64-bit)

  • Windows Me

  • Windows 2000 Server

  • Windows 2000 Professional

  • Windows NT Server

  • Windows NT Workstation

  • Windows 98

  • Windows 95

  • Windows for Workgroups

  • Microsoft LAN Manager

  • MS-DOS clients

  • OS/2 clients

  • Linux and Unix clients (with Samba installed)

WINS-enabled clients communicate with a WINS server to do the following:

  • Register client names in the WINS database.

  • Renew client names with the WINS database.

  • Release client names from the WINS database.

  • Resolve names by obtaining mappings from the WINS database for usernames, NetBIOS names, DNS names, and IP addresses.

Clients that are not WINS enabled can use some WINS services through the use of WINS proxies. WINS proxies are WINS clients configured on a specific subnet to act on behalf of other host computers that cannot use WINS directly to resolve NetBIOS names. NetBIOS names are 15 characters long, with a 16th reserved character that uniquely identifies a service the particular system is running.

WINS is mainly designed to resolve NetBIOS names to IP addresses, but in the past, this was often done via broadcast as well. Depending on system configuration and type, some systems use broadcasts only to resolve NetBIOS names on the network. You can configure a WINS proxy to listen on behalf of these systems and to query WINS for names not resolved by broadcast and send the resolution back to the querying client. Normally, WINS proxies are used only on networks that include NetBIOS broadcast-only (B-node) clients.

Systems that are configured to use WINS are normally configured as a hybrid (H-node) client, meaning they attempt to resolve NetBIOS names via a WINS server and then try a broadcast (B-node) if WINS is unsuccessful. Most systems can be configured to resolve NetBIOS names in one of four modes:

  • Broadcast (B-node)—Clients use a broadcast only to resolve names. An enhanced B-node setting has the client use an LMHOST file as well. The hex value for this setting is 0x1.

  • Peer-to-Peer (P-node)—Clients use WINS only to resolve names. The hex value for this setting is 0x2.

  • Mixed (M-node)—Clients first use a broadcast in an attempt to resolve NetBIOS names. If this fails, they attempt the resolution via the WINS server. The hex value for this setting is 0x4.

  • Hybrid (H-node)—Clients first use the WINS service in an attempt to resolve NetBIOS names. If this fails, they attempt the resolution via broadcast. The hex value for this setting is 0x8.

Enhanced B-node systems (specifically, others can be configured to use it as well) use the LMHOSTS file, a text file that is manually updated with NetBIOS name–to–IP address mapping information on a network. The file is located in the %SystemRoot%\System32\Drivers\Etc folder by default on Windows 2000, XP, and Server 2003 systems.

Additional information on LMHOSTS files is available in "Need To Know More?" at the end of this chapter. Using LMHOSTS files and manually updating them are usually administratively viable only when fewer than 25 systems total are in use. WINS is the best resolution in an environment with multiple subnets.

The following is a quick overview of the straight WINS registration process:

  1. Systems receive their IP addresses from a DHCP server, which also configures them to use a specific WINS server or servers.

  2. The client sends a name registration request directly to that WINS server.

  3. If the system's NetBIOS name is not already in the WINS server's database, it is accepted as a new registration.

  4. The name is entered with a new version ID, given a timestamp, and marked with the WINS server's owner ID. The timestamp is the length of time the system can use the name it has registered on the network.

  5. A registration response is sent back to the registering client system from the WINS server with a TTL value equal to the timestamp recorded for the name.

The default renewal interval for WINS names is six days. Clients attempt to renew their registrations when 50% of the TTL value has elapsed. A name must be refreshed before this interval ends, or the WINS server force-releases it.

WINS servers support burst handling for name registration during peak traffic times. Name registration bursts normally occur first thing in the morning if a location has a set start time, and a large number of users come in to work at once and simultaneously start up their PCs.

WINS has a normal name registration operating threshold (called a queue value) of 500 by default. If registering systems stay below this value, they are handled via the normal registration process. If this queue value is exceeded, the WINS server responds to new client registration requests with a shorter lease threshold. The TTL is set much lower than the default six days (or whatever the current setting is), which forces clients to reregister with WINS.

The first 100 clients over the set queue value are given a TTL setting of five minutes on their names. The next 100 receive a TTL of 10 minutes, and so on, until a maximum of 50 minutes is reached. Then the 100-count process starts over at five minutes. As the load on the WINS server falls below the queue value, clients reregister and receive the full lease time for their NetBIOS names.

A single WINS server can handle up to 10,000 clients for NetBIOS name resolution requests, based on a decent CPU and adequate memory and disk throughput, but other factors need to be considered, such as fault tolerance, server hardware, other services running on the server, network topology, number of remote users, and so on.

WINS Replication

In most cases, especially in larger environments, multiple WINS servers are running. Some clients might be configured to use one WINS server, and other sets of clients might be configured to use another. This causes a problem if a client using WINS1 needs to resolve the name of a system that registered on WINS2. Convergence time is the time it takes to replicate a new entry in a WINS database to all the other WINS servers in the environment.


When a client registers its name with a WINS server and an entry is made to that database, it is called an originating update. When that change is replicated to other WINS databases, it is referred to as a replicated update.

When planning placement and replication for WINS servers, you must decide on an acceptable convergence time for your network. Replication is used to synchronize WINS databases across the different WINS servers.

WINS servers are configured to sync with replication partners. Those partner WINS servers can be configured as pull partners, push partners, or a combination push/pull partner. Pull partners pull database entries from their WINS replica partners at a predetermined time. This means that no matter how many (or how few) changes have been made to the WINS database, at the time of pull replication, the server gets the updates. Push partners work off a quota number. When a WINS server has accrued a predetermined number of updates to its database, it pushes those changes out to its replication partners. In other words, push partners send updates out as soon as they have enough accumulated database updates, regardless of how long it has been since the last updates were sent.

There are issues with both designs. Pull partners, which might be configured to get databases only once every hour, are not properly updated during high-volume registration hours, such as the beginning of the workday. Push partners, which might be configured to replicate only when they have 300 new records, do nothing if the count stops at 153. The solution is to set up push/pull partners. These WINS servers are normally paired up, or if there are enough of them, configured in a hub and spoke setup to push and pull their changes among each other, thus solving both problems mentioned previously.

Pearson IT Certification Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Pearson IT Certification and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Pearson IT Certification products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.pearsonitcertification.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020