Windows 7 / Networking

How to Troubleshoot Name Resolution Problems

Computers use numeric IP addresses (such as or 2001:db8::1) to identify each other on networks. However, IP addresses are difficult for people to remember, so we use more friendly host names (such as Name resolution is the process of converting a host name to an IP address, and DNS is by far the most common name resolution technique.

Many apparent connectivity problems are actually name resolution problems. If any of the following problems occur, the client will be unable to contact a server using its host name:

  • DNS servers have failed.
  • The network connecting the client to the DNS server has failed.
  • A host name is missing from the DNS database.
  • A host name is associated with an incorrect IP address. Often, this happens because a host has recently changed IP addresses and the DNS database has not been updated.
  • The client does not have DNS servers configured or is configured with the incorrect DNS server IP addresses.

To diagnose a name resolution problem, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Network And Sharing Center by clicking Start, clicking Network, and then clicking Network And Sharing Center. If a red X is displayed over a network link, click the link to start Windows Network Diagnostics and follow the prompts that appear. Windows Network Diagnostics can solve many common configuration problems. If Windows Network Diagnostics does not identify or resolve the problem, continue following these steps.
  2. Verify that you can connect to other computers using IP addresses. If you cannot connect to servers by using their IP address, the source of your problem is network connectivity rather than name resolution. See the section titled "How to Troubleshoot Network Connectivity Problems" earlier in this tutorial. If you can connect to servers by using their IP address but not by using their host names, continue following these steps.
    Note When your network is working properly, look up the IP addresses of several different computers, including computers on your subnet, other subnets on your intranet, and computers on the Internet. Test the IP addresses to verify that they respond to Ping requests. Keep this list available so that you can use the IP addresses to test for network connectivity without relying on name resolution.
  3. Open a command prompt and use Nslookup to look up the host name you are attempting to contact, as the following example shows.

    Examine the output.
    • If Nslookup displays addresses or aliases for the host name, name resolution was successful. Most likely, the server you are trying to reach is offline, you have a connectivity problem preventing you from reaching the server, the application you are using is misconfigured, or the DNS server database is incorrect. See the sections titled "How to Troubleshoot Network Connectivity Problems" and "How to Troubleshoot Application Connectivity Problems" earlier in this tutorial. If you believe the DNS server database is incorrect, contact your DNS server administrator.
    • If Nslookup displays only "DNS request timed out," the DNS server is not responding. First, repeat the test several times to determine whether it is an intermittent problem. Then, use the ipconfig command to verify that the client computer has the correct DNS servers configured. If necessary, update the client computer's DNS server configuration. If the DNS server's IP addresses are correct, the DNS servers or the network to which they are connected are offline. Contact the server or network administrator for additional assistance.
    • If Nslookup displays the message "Default servers are not available," the computer does not have a DNS server configured. Update the client network configuration with DNS server IP addresses or configure the computer to acquire an address automatically.
  4. If you can connect to the server from a different client computer, run ipconfig /all from a command prompt to determine which DNS servers the client computer is configured to use. If the IP addresses are different, consider changing the problematic client computer to use those IP addresses.
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In this tutorial:

  1. Troubleshooting Network Issues
  2. Tools for Troubleshooting
  3. Table-1 Network Troubleshooting Tools
  4. Arp
  5. How to Identify a Problem with the ARP Cacher
  6. How to Clear the ARP Cache
  7. Event Viewer
  8. IPConfig
  9. Nblookup
  10. Nbtstat
  11. Net
  12. How to View Shared Folders on the Local Computer
  13. How to View Shared Folders on Another Computer
  14. Netstat
  15. Network Monitor
  16. Nslookup
  17. Verifying that the Default DNS Server Resolves Correctly
  18. Verifying that a Specific DNS Server Resolves Correctly
  19. Verifying Specific Types of Addresses
  20. Using TCP for DNS Lookups
  21. PathPing
  22. PathPing Output
  23. Routing Loops
  24. Performance Problems
  25. Possible Connectivity Issues
  26. No Connectivity Issues
  27. Performance Monitor
  28. Data Collector Sets
  29. Windows Resource Monitor
  30. Ping
  31. PortQry
  32. Identifying the TCP Port for a Service
  33. Windows 7 Testing Service Connectivity
  34. Determining Available Remote Management Protocols
  35. Why PortQry Is Great
  36. Route
  37. Task Manager
  38. TCPView
  39. Telnet Client
  40. Testing Service Connectivity
  41. Test TCP
  42. Windows Network Diagnostics
  43. The Process of Troubleshooting Network Problems
  44. How to Troubleshoot Network Connectivity Problems
  45. How to Troubleshoot Application Connectivity Problems
  46. Default Port Assignments for Common Services and Tasks
  47. How to Troubleshoot Name Resolution Problems
  48. How to Verify Connectivity to a DNS Server
  49. How to Use the Hosts File
  50. How to Troubleshoot Performance Problems and Intermittent Connectivity Issues
  51. How to Troubleshoot Joining or Logging on to a Domain
  52. How to Verify Requirements for Joining a Domain
  53. How to Troubleshoot Network Discovery
  54. How to Troubleshoot File and Printer Sharing
  55. How to Troubleshoot File and Printer Sharing from the Client
  56. How to Troubleshoot File and Printer Sharing from the Server
  57. How to Troubleshoot Wireless Networks
  58. Network Diagnostics
  59. How to Troubleshoot Firewall Problems