Windows

Classic Tip: Get the best performance out of WINS

Today's Classic Tip highlights a feature found in Windows NT Server that was vital to networks in the 90's, but not so much today: WINS. Even though it's an old service, it's still around. Read on to find out more about WINS and how it affects Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008.

Today's TechRepublic Classic Tip comes from the Windows NT Techmail dated May 16, 2000:

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Today's Windows NT Tip

Read more about it at TechRepublic:

GET THE BEST PERFORMANCE OUT OF WINS

Do you know how to squeeze the most out of WINS? The TechRepublic staff has written an article to help you maximize WINS on your network.

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A short tip indeed, but it came from the Read More About It section where we highlighted content other than the main content. The main tip was entitled "DON'T APPLY A 40-BIT SERVICE PACK OVER A 128-BIT SYSTEM" and was even less relevant today than WINS.

What's WINS?

WINS stands for Windows Internet Name Service. It was the naming service used in old Windows NT networks to help resolve computer names. Because Windows NT used NetBEUI by default rather than TCP/IP, it couldn't use DNS to find a given computer name the way Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 do today. Instead, WINS allowed any computer employing NetBIOS to find another.

WINS was used by Windows 9x and older versions of Windows to find resources across a network. It was important in Windows NT domains, but with the advent of Active Directory, DNS, and modern versions of Windows, it's mostly unnecessary.

You can still configure WINS on a Windows Server 2008 computer, but it's probably something you'll never use. If you're running Windows Server 2003, you can designate WINS as being a server role, but in Windows Server 2008, it's merely a feature. Chance are it will completely disappear in the next revision of Windows Server.

However, if you do still use WINS, check out the link to the article above. It will show you how to improve performance in a WINS environment. Some other articles about WINS and NetBIOS on TechRepublic include:

1 comments
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

Kind of like the appendix in your digestive track, WINS is a mostly useless service available in Windows Server 2008 that has lingered around since Windows NT. Classics Rock points to an old NT tip about WINS and discusses it's relevance in Windows Server 2008: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/classic-tech/?p=137 Microsoft often leaves a lot of services and things in its software like WINS for backward compatibility. What other ancient services in Windows Server 2008 can you think of, and do you use any of them?