Talk:Windows Internet Name Service

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How can one querry a Window client for its Netbios name?[edit]

How can one querry a Window client for its Netbios name? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wk muriithi (talkcontribs)

On the command line type hostname (this works for XP and may work on other versions of Windows)
On the command line you can also type echo %computername% and this will tell you the hostname/NetBIOS name (using environment variable)
If you download a command line program called nblookup this is used to query WINS servers
In 2000/XP GUI, right click on My Computer and select Properties, click the Computer Name tab and where it reads Full Computer Name this is the hostname/NetBIOS name (previous versions of windows has it under My Network)
Zarief 11:11, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Is the name of this article correct?[edit]

chayashida: Is the name of this article correct? I just wrote up a change control form for work, and I found that WINS is listed as Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) in Add/Remove Windows Components, at least for Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chayashida (talkcontribs)


I don't know what a WINS server does, however after reading this article I came away just as confused. It probably needs a good rewrite by someone who knows their stuff —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:51, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Yeah. It's pretty darned confusing. I want to other places and I think it's like this: Each computer is identified on the network with a cryptic number of some sort which no one likes to remember and work with. (Say, no one likes to call his laptop 348650346592365320.) So, people put names on their computers. Like Sarah-Laptop and Sarah-Desktop. Now, whenever you ask a computer to connect to Sarah-Desktop, it looks up Sarah-Desktop in WINS server to come up with its cryptic number. Now, the strange thing is that when there is no WINS, computers can still connect to each other. I think they sort of shout "who is Sarah-Desktop" on the whole network and wait till somebody says "that'd be me". Though don't ask me how one can shout in a network. (talk) 15:28, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Came here to see if this is still relevant in modern networks as I have not worked with WINS for many years. Sure the article is scant if you are not a network engineer, but there is enough detail to know what it is (a naming service, like a phonebook) and how it works (server-client like a phone number service, you call when you want sarah's phone number, they give you what Sarah last said her number was but only up until a few minutes, then they forget) In answer to above: No. If there is only NETBIOS and no structure, the servers and workstations advertise themselves at intervals. If you build a LAN between only two Windows PC and there is no other thing connected, over a matter of minutes, each computer would have had a chance to advertise or send a message to 'all' like 'sarah-desktop=ea:23:df:34:ea:ff' and the other, 'susan-desktop=ea:23:df:34:ea:ff'. To illustrate this perfectly, when you open your 'Network Neighbourhood' or whatever the kids call it now, the other computer won't show up for a while, then suddenly it's there. This is a problem if you have an application that depends on the other computer, like shared folders, gaming or accounting package with one computer a user and other holds the data, becasue it must wait for the announcement and remember the value and often there is a gap where the memory is cleared and the announcement is slow or hindered by other activity. If there is a central place, where all the computers know to post their names and addresses, then the lookup process is much quicker, especially when the network is large. So to relate, let's say both Susan and Sarah phone the telephone lookup service every few mintues and confirm their names and phone numbers, then when Shelly calls the phone service to find out Susan's number, she will be connected correctly and without delay or Shelly must wait for either Susan or Sarah to call and let Shelly know the right number directly (notice the second method will take a long itme and produce a lot of traffic especially if there are 50 comptuers and each wants to take a turn to announce their presence - this is the 'hinderence by other activity'). The addresses in this case are called MAC addresses (Media Access Control or something) and the number they have is a (12 place) hexidecimal address (being made of numbers and letters only 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,a,b,c,d,e,f - where 'hex' is 6 and 'decimal' is ten) that is made part of the network card by the manufacturer, much like you have EMEI number burnt into your mobile phone it is a guaranteed exclusive number (in all normal situations). Important and for your own research: NETBIOS is not router aware, so the computers can only see other computers that are on it's own network segment. And this is likely the reason WINS has been replaced by DNS, which is router aware and therefore allows for much larger networks that span much larger areas, building, countries etc. Please note, if you are a network engineer and reading this while slapping your forehead, I deliberately used some non-technical descriptors for some concepts so that anybody can understand enough to decide if this is for them. If you are non-technical, this is dead technology and worth looking at to understand how it was done back then, but try to follow current trends correctly (look up RFCs for things like naming and service standards and limitations and you won't need WINS....). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:40, 30 March 2016 (UTC)

What's it good for?[edit]

Based on the article, it sounds like WINS is only used on networks still running NETBIOS and needing the equivalent of DNS. But hardly anyone uses NETBIOS anymore. So is there any other purpose? --Gmuir 15:00, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Just because something is old does not mean it is irrelevant. In fact, I came to this page wanting to know more about WINS (from Samba). 0x6adb015 (talk) 16:47, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
. . . but it would be good to have this made clearer in the article? I came across the page by accident but was interested and confused. Was this just another attempt by MS to expand it's quasi-monopoly?? LookingGlass (talk) 19:26, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

. . . . WINS is still a critical component for many enterprise networks, I worked as a WINS Admin for 5 years to fix a network where when I started 140,000 users were using nearly 400 WINS servers, now running on just 65 dedicated servers and it does not go wrong, this number will be reduced further too. Microsoft do want it gone they dont like to develop any patches / bug fixes for it and having looked at its guts i know why. --Ivorgarcia (talk) 23:46, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

wow I had no clue how broad the reference is for the WINS SERVER —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:45, 25 September 2008 (UTC)


The article should mention the fact that WINS is a deprecated technology and that GNZ should be used if single-name resolution is necessary. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:15, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Just My Two Cents[edit]

To understand the function of WINS, one needs first understand the way SMB works. Small windows networks don't have a server, so they can't rely on a server to find another machines, share files or anything. So the workstations need a way to talk to each other without the need of a server. This way is the NETBIOS service. NETBIOS is a very old service, even older than TCP/IP on PCs. It works based on broadcasts. Basically, when a workstation needs to talk to another one (said, Sara-Laptop needs to talk to Sara-Desktop ), it just broadcasts a query, and if Sara-Desktop is active and available, it replies to the query. There are some situations where Sara-Desktop is active but cannot reply directly to Sara-Laptop, so NETBIOS defines a role called "master browser", and from times to times, one of the workstations is elected to this role. All the workstations register to the master browser; when one of them need to know about other one, it still broadcasts for it, but now the master browser can answer for the queries.

One problem remain unsolved: as NETBIOS name resolution works with broadcasts, it's not possible to locate workstations that belong to other broadcast domains (i.e., two networks linked by a WAN). WINS came to solve this situation; it haves a well known address, and all workstations on the workgroup register to it. When there's a WINS server configured, the workstations no longer need to broadcast searching another workstations; instead, they query for them directly to the WINS server.

Now, you may ask me: "Why don't you just put this in the article?", hey, this is a very unformal description of the WINS function, and I don't have the tecnical details needed to write a good article. Zekkerj (talk) 16:24, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

  1. It was a good read anyway. Very great to understand. You may consider contributing it to the domain if they have this article over there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:45, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

Incorrect Analogies to DNS[edit]

Everything that this article assumes about DNS is wrong:

  • DNS is not just a "central mapping of host names to network addresses" -- DNS is a system for serving resource records that can represent more than just "network addresses"
  • DNS is not implemented in two "parts" -- DNS is a complex system for delegating authority to serve RRs. If there were "parts" to DNS, there would be three, not two:
  1. Authoritative nameserver
  2. Recursive resolver
  3. DNS client
  • DNS does not strictly use a "TCP/IP client component" -- DNS defaults to UDP for communication, using TCP primarily for large transfers (i.e. AXFR requests). The comparison here is very misleading.

Megastopheles (talk) 06:12, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

  1. Interesting info! (talk) 20:42, 1 November 2014 (UTC)