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What is WINS? What does disabling it do?

WINS (Windows Internet Naming Service), is the Microsoft Windows NT Server version of DNS. It manages the association of workstation names and locations with IP addresses without the user or an administrator having to be involved in each configuration change. WINS automatically creates a computer name-IP address mapping entry in a table, ensuring that the name is unique and not a duplicate of someone else's computer name. When a computer is moved to another geographic location, the subnet part of the IP address is likely to change. Using WINS, the new subnet information will be updated automatically in the WINS table. WINS complements the NT Server's Dynamic Host configuration Protocol (DHCP), which negotiates an IP address for any computer (such as your workstation) when it is first defined to the network. If you're a computer user on a network connected to a Windows NT Server, you may find WINS mentioned in some of your network-related programs or system messages. Based on Microsoft's paper, DHCP and WINS have been submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as proposed open standards in RFCs 1533, 1534, 1541, and 1542. New features are included in Windows 2000.

WINS is not used by our customers when they establish dial-up connections, only DNS. Often, it is suggested that disabling WINS will solve some connection problems. This is referred to as a "voodoo" fix. What actually happens is, when WINS is disabled and the customer clicks "OK", the TCP/IP stack must be recompiled to exclude it. The real fix comes in rebuilding the TCP/IP stack. As a general guideline, remove anything that is unused and unneeded, and you remove one possible source of a problem. So while you're dinking around in the TCP/IP settings, go ahead and click on the WINS tab, select "Disable WINS Resolution" (at the bottom), and restart the computer.


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