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Configuring WINS Clients

In order for clients to dynamically register their NetBIOS names with a WINS server and use the server for name resolution, they must be configured with the IP address of the WINS server. A WINS client can be running any of the following platforms:

  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows XP
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows NT 3.51 and later
  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98
  • Windows for Workgroups 3.11 running MS TCP/IP32
  • Microsoft Network Client 3.0 for MS-DOS
  • LAN Manager 2.2c for MS-DOS

There are two methods available for configuring clients with the IP address of the WINS server. You can use a DHCP server or you can configure each client manually.

If you opt to use DHCP, clients will require no configuration as they are enabled for DHCP by default. But you will have to configure the DHCP server to assign the IP Address of the WINS server to DHCP clients. To do so, configure the 044 WINS/NBNS server and the 046 WINS/NBT Node type DHCP options. You can do so by configuring the scope options within the DHCP management console (refer to Chapter 2, "Managing IP Addressing," for instructions on how to configure scope options).

The first option specifies the IP address of the WINS server. The second option specifies the node type or methods clients use to resolve NetBIOS names and in what order.

Clients can also be configured manually by an administrator, which means visiting each workstation and typing in the IP address of the WINS server. To manually configure a Windows XP client for WINS, follow these steps:

  1. Point to Start, Settings, and click Network Connections.
  2. Right-click the Local Area Connection and click Properties.
  3. From the list of components select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click Properties.
  4. From the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties window, select the Advanced button and click the WINS tab.
  5. Click the Add button and type in the IP address for the WINS server. Repeat the process for additional WINS servers on the network. Click OK.

There are several other configurable options available on the WINS tab, which are summarized as follows:

  • Enable LMHOSTS Lookup— This option is selected by default and it enables the client to use an LMHOSTS file to resolve NetBIOS names to IP addresses. The Import LMHOSTS button allows you to import an existing file into the LMHOSTS file on the client computer.
  • Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP— This option specifies that the local area connection uses NetBIOS over TCP/IP and WINS. This setting should be enabled if the computer must communicate using computer names or with pre–Windows 2000 clients.
  • Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP— This option disables NetBIOS over TCP/IP and WINS for the local area connection. On a network that runs only Windows 2000, this option can be selected.
  • Use NetBIOS Setting from the DHCP Server— Select this option to have the client obtain WINS information from a DHCP server. If the client is configured to receive its IP address from a DHCP server, this option is selected by default.

Configuring Static Mappings

In some cases there may be clients on the network that are unable to dynamically update their NetBIOS name with a WINS server. In these instances, a static mapping can be manually added to the WINS database by an administrator. After a static mapping is created, it does not need to be renewed, nor does it expire. The entry must be manually deleted by an administrator.

To configure a static mapping:

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, Administrative Tools, and click WINS.
  2. Within the WINS management console, right-click Active Registrations and select New Static Mapping.
  3. In the New Static Mapping dialog box, type in the computer name (NetBIOS name) for the host.
  4. If required, type in the NetBIOS scope.
  5. Using the drop-down arrow, select the type of entry you are creating.
  6. Type in the IP address of the host. Click OK.

Keep in mind that if the client for which you created a static mapping is also a DHCP client, a client reservation should be created for it so it is leasing the same IP address all the time. If the client leases an IP address different from the IP address listed in the WINS database, the name will be resolved to the incorrect IP address.

WINS Proxy

Clients that do not support WINS may resolve NetBIOS names using a broadcast. For routed IP networks, this method of name resolution becomes difficult if not impossible all together. In these situations, you can configure what is known as a WINS proxy agent.

A WINS proxy is a computer on a local subnet that listens for name resolution broadcasts. After the WINS server receives a broadcast, it queries the WINS server on behalf of the non-WINS client and returns the results. In terms of NetBIOS name registration, the WINS proxy also listens for name registration broadcasts on the local subnet. When a non-WINS client attempts to register its NetBIOS name, the WINS proxy queries the WINS server to ensure that the name has not already been registered by another host.

To configure a computer to act as a WINS proxy, you must edit the local Registry. To do so, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\system\currentcontrolset\ services\netbt\parameters and change the value for the EnableProxy to 1.

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