A+ Certification / Beginners


When you network in a Microsoft environment, you connect to other computers by using those computers' names. These computer names must be converted to IP addresses for communication to happen in a TCP/IP network. For example, you may want to connect to Mikey's computer, so you connect to \\mikey through the Run command on the Start menu. When you try to connect, \\mikey has to be converted to an IP address for the computer to be able to look for it. The process of converting a name from one format to another is name resolution. In this example, the computer name is being converted to an IP address, which is known as NetBIOS name resolution.

With NetBIOS name resolution, before your computer tries to connect to another system, it sends a query to a Windows Internet Naming System (WINS) server, asking the server this: "Hi there, Mr. WINS server. I am trying to connect to a computer named mikey - do you have an IP address for this computer?" The WINS server holds a database of NetBIOS names and matching IP addresses, known as the WINS database. Think of this database as having two columns: One for the computer name (NetBIOS name) and one for the matching IP address. Upon receiving the question, the WINS server checks the database for the computer named mikey and then returns its IP address to the client who asked for it. Then the client can connect by using the IP address for mikey.

In order for a Windows system to send a query to the WINS server you must ensure that you configure the WINS server setting within the TCP/IP properties of the client system. Configuring the Windows client for a WINS server directs the client to the server that it must register its name and IP address with and also whom to send name resolution queries to.

Before configuring your clients for WINS you must be aware of the IP address used by the WINS server. If you don't know this information you should consult the network administrator. Once you have the IP address of the WINS server, you are ready to configure the WINS clients. To configure a Windows 2000/XP/2003 system as a WINS client, follow these steps:

  1. If you're using Windows 2000, choose Start → Settings → Control Panel → Network and Dial Up Connections. If you're using Windows XP/2003, choose Start → Control Panel → Network and Internet Connections → Network Connections.
  2. Right-click your local area connection and choose Properties.
  3. In the Network Properties dialog box, select TCP/IP and click Properties.
  4. In the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties, click the Advanced button.
  5. Click the WINS tab.
  6. Click the Add button to add the IP address of the WINS server.
  7. Type the IP address of the WINS server and click Add.
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