If you’ve ever administered a Windows NT network for more than a few minutes, you’ve probably encountered problems with Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS). When Microsoft began touting the benefits of Windows NT 5.0, now known and shipped as Windows 2000, it promised that you wouldn’t need WINS anymore. As Windows 2000 becomes adopted by more and more organizations, network administrators are beginning to find out that they still need WINS.
Although the basics of WINS are the same, the interface is a little different. In this Daily Feature, I’ll show you how to implement WINS on Windows 2000.
Why do I still need WINS?
The main reason you still need WINS on your Windows 2000 network has nothing to do with problems inherent in Windows 2000 Server. Instead, you need to install a WINS server if you haven’t fully migrated your network to Windows 2000 Server on the server side and Windows 2000 Professional on the client side. If you still run Windows 9x, Windows NT, Windows 3.x, DOS, OS/2, or any other NetBIOS network clients on your network, you’ll still need WINS.
WINS allows your network to resolve NetBIOS names on the network. It helps clients find network resources by translating a computer’s NetBIOS name to a TCP/IP address, in much the same way DNS does. Windows 2000 doesn’t need WINS because it relies on its DNS to resolve all TCP/IP information.
New WINS functions in Windows 2000
Microsoft did more than just slap the old WINS server from Windows NT onto Windows 2000. Improvements to WINS in Windows 2000 include the following:
- Persistent connections: Windows 2000’s WINS server can maintain persistent connections with one or more replication partners.
- Manual tombstoning: Windows 2000 allows you to mark a record for deletion. Microsoft calls this tombstoning—a term that originated with Exchange.
- WINS Management Console: This is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC)-based administration utility that makes administering WINS much easier than before.
- Enhanced filtering and record searching: You can now filter records and search for only those records that fit specified criteria.
- Multiple selection and dynamic record deletion: The new WINS administration utility allows you to delete both static and dynamic entries. Additionally, you can select and delete multiple entries at once. You also now can delete records that contain nonalphanumeric characters.
- Record verification: Windows 2000 now can double-check the records returned by NetBIOS queries to different WINS servers against its own records.
- Export function: Windows 2000 allows you to export WINS data to a comma-delimited text file. You can then import that file into other programs, such as Microsoft Access.
- WINS Users group: The WINS Setup program automatically creates a group in Active Directory called the WINS Users group. You can grant members of this group read-only access to WINS-related information in the WINS MMC.
Implementing WINS on Windows 2000
The biggest difference you will notice in WINS on Windows 2000 is that it doesn’t require a reboot after installation. To install WINS, go into Control Panel and double-click Add/Remove Programs. Next, click on the Add/Remove Windows Components button.
When the Windows Components Wizard screen appears, scroll down until you see Network Services shown under the Components list. Highlight Networking Services and then click on the Details button. Scroll down the list of Subcomponents Of Networking Services until you see Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS).
Select the check box beside that option and click OK to return to the previous screen. You will be prompted for the location of the I386 directory on a floppy. (That’s right; apparently someone was asleep at the switch when this screen was designed since I have never heard a CD-ROM referred to as a floppy.)
If you haven’t already done so, I recommend placing a copy of the I386 directory from your Windows 2000 CD somewhere on one of the server’s drives so you always have it handy and don’t have to hunt down the CD when you need to add a service. Enter the directory where you copied the Windows 2000 files or the drive of your CD-ROM and click OK.
Click Next when you return to the Add/Remove Programs screen, and the actual install process for WINS will commence. When it is finished, click Next and then Close to close out of the Add/Remove Programs application.
As you can see, setting up WINS isn’t a whole lot different from what you have done in the NT 4 world. For those new to Windows 2000, setting up WINS is the one thing that could help get systems to see each other when nothing else seems to work.
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