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Question On Computer Names

Posted on 2004-09-12
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This is just an education question, since I'm not that familiar with Windows (I'm more of a Unix guy). My computer can't connect to other computers with their computer name, but my boss and others can connect to computers with the computer name. Is it because we're on different subnets (he's on a 172.* subnet, and I have a static IP that's different), or is there some other explanation? Is there some way that I can fix it?

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:mnashadka
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by:jkr
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>>Is it because we're on different subnets

NetBIOS (which is used for peer-to-peer networking without nameservers in windows) cannot be routed over subnet boundaries, so this is most likely to be the reason. To get rid of that problem, you should use a name server that translates the machine names to IP addresses.
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by:mnashadka
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It would be very difficult to use a name server, because the other computers are using DHCP and can not guarantee the same IP address.  Is there any other way?
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valicon earned 125 total points
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Place your computer on the same subnet and you will have no problems connecting to the other computers.  If you need to be on a different  subnet then you will need to use a Wins server.  If you are on a Windows 2000 and higher network, you could use DNS.  Since I do not know your network config, I would recommend my first suggestion as a starting point :)
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by:mnashadka
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I can't put my computer on the same subnet. I'll look at what it takes to configure a Wins server.
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by:jkr
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You could try to uninstall the "raw" NetBIOS, thus forcing the use of NBTCP (NetBIOS over TCP/'IP)
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by:mnashadka
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I can't uninstall NetBIOS, because it's required to use the Novell servers that run our network.  I'd have to uninstall my Novell client to uninstall NetBIOS.  Thanks anyway.
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by:jkr
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Won't the Novell client work with NBTCP also? IIRC, it should, but haven't seen a Novell box in a couple of years, though...
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by:valicon
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If the machines you are trying to communicate will use static IP addresses then you could also use a lmhosts file.  But if this is not convienent or possible for your situation I would set up a Wins Server. Here is how to install the Wins Server in W2k:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307314&sd=tech

Also remember that once you have the Wins Server set up, you should configure your computer's TCP/IP settings with the IP address of the Wins Server.  Let me know if you need further help :)  
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by:billteeple
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This is the long and short of it...

They can communicate with each other with computername only because of one of two things is occurring:


WINS ISSUE:
Their computers (being that they are using DHCP) probably are communicating with a WINS Server, you can double check this by:
1. START, PROGRAMS, ACCESSORIES, COMMAND PROMPT
2. in the command prompt, type ipconfig /all
3. towards the bottom is an entry for WINS server
               Primary WINS Server . . . . . . . : 192.168.0.3
4. Double check this against your system - see if you too are using the same WINS server

DNS SUFFIX:
If their systems have a DNS SEARCH SUFFIX, then they won't have to communicate with FQDN (fully qualified domain names) but will actually be able to communicate with just the HOSTNAME portion of the FQDN (i.e. teeps.teeple.tv would become teeps)

You can check this out and compare with your system also by:
1. START, PROGRAMS, ACCESSORIES, COMMAND PROMPT
2. in the command prompt, type ipconfig /all
3. towards the top is an entry for DNS Search Lists
              DNS Suffix Search List. . . . . . : teeple.tv
4. Double check this against your system - see if you are using the same DNS search suffix.


NOW - the real EDUCATION portion - the first one (WINS) is strictly NetBIOS communication - and it is not true that you cannot route NetBIOS - you cannot route NETBEIU...  NetBIOS works over TCP/IP...  The second one (DNS Search Suffix) is purely TCP/IP

Hope that helps.  It should point you in the correct direction.
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by:valicon
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All computers on the 172. subnet will be able to communicate even without a Wins Server through broadcasts, so we cannot assume that there is in fact a Wins Server.  The other computer is on a different subnet.  Again, I would recommend lmhosts, or a Wins Server, if this one machine that is on a seperate subnet with a static IP is the only one like that, depending on how many clients it needs to communicate with, I may choose lmhosts file. Say this computer needs to access only 5 other machines, then in that case I would use lmhosts.  If this machine needs to communicate with 50 machines then lmhosts is not the answer.  The one shortfall of using lmhosts file is that since the other machines are DHCP clients, if the IP addresses change, then the lmhosts file will not work correctly.  Again, the correct answer depends on your network and needs, I would probably lean to the Wins Server side myself.  Is there a DNS server on the network?  That would be another option.
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by:billteeple
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LMHOSTS will totally not work - because his associates are DHCP (as he stated above - this option wouldn't work)...

but WINS is an solution.

My response above was simply a test - to determine which of the two setups that he is running in their network right now.

Now if this is like a really tiny shop - that has like 10 computers in it, then there might not be a WINS server or a DNS server.  

I think what everyone is asking for is more information on your current network setup...

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by:valicon
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lmhosts will only work if his machines are all using static IP's, just because his other clients MAY be DHCP does not mean the IP's are dynamic, do we know for a fact if there are any IP reservations?  No. "The one shortfall of using lmhosts file is that since the other machines are DHCP clients, if the IP addresses change, then the lmhosts file will not work correctly." Since I am not aware of his network config and I am not about to assume, I included lmhosts just for FYI.  But again, my recommendation is a Wins Server.
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by:mnashadka
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The LMHOSTS file won't work, because if a computer is logged off for more than 24 hours (which happens to a lot of them every weekend), then there is a good chance that the IP will change.  The WINS server did work, though.  Thank you all for your help.
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