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Is WINS needed on Server 2003 network?

This might be a simple question, I'm not sure.

I'm pretty far along converting an NT4 network to 2k3.  I've now got all the workstations and user accounts and home directories on the new 2K3 servers, which are DCs on a new domain.

I still have my original NT4 server and the old domain running because I have yet to take the last step, moving Exchange.  That is, Exchange 5.5 is still on the NT4 PDC.  Outlook on users' machines, even though on they are otherwise on the new domain, point to Exchange on the old domain.

All that is background.  My question is about WINS.  On the old domain, the PDC was (and is) also a WINS server.  When I complete the migration of Exchange and decommission the old domain and its PDC, will I still need a WINS server?  That is, is WINS completely done away with by Server 2003 and AD?

My workstations are all 2000 Pro or XP Pro, and (2) there is a SonicWall SOHO2/50 firewall between my network and my Cisco router, and (3) I'm using static IP addresses, if any of this has any effect.

Many thanks,

 Ron Hicks
Ronald Hicks
Ronald Hicks
3 Solutions
Hi ronhicks22207,

I dont beleive WINS in a neccessity to windows anymore as it was Basically Replaced by DNS, yet many many times WINS still comes into play and is worth having as a backup, especially in regards to name resolution accross VPN. a lot of the time DNS fails and WINS entries save the day
Keith AlabasterCommented:
No, wins is not a pre-requsite however it is still recommended if you use VPN's (as mentioned by Jay) but also in mixed modes linking to older systems such as NT4 domains, and even in native mode if you have multiple sites.

MS have suggested that wins will be removed a number of times now but it is still there going strong.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
WINS is basically used for name resolution across subnets.  Without it, your network neighborhood won't be fully populated when you use subnets on your network - this can include VPN clients.  But strictly speaking if you don't have ANY NT4 or Win9x/Me clients, you should be able to do without it, unless browsing that network neighborhood is important to you.
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Ronald HicksAuthor Commented:
I don't think I'll have a need for supporting VPN clients, but I'm not sure about that.  I do have in mind using OWA (Outlook Web Access) when I get my Exchange 2003 Server up and running.  Is that VPN?

I don't have any  pre-2K clients.  All are 2K Pro or XP Pro.
Keith AlabasterCommented:
Nope. OWA will use the DNS externally to get a lookup for the web server you are using to host it with and then your firewall/router will use directed IP to target the traffic to the desired internal box.

If you are not using linked different geographical sites on your domains then you can likely get away from WINS. I'd keep it in my back pocket though if you find that you are not seeing everything in Network Neighbourhood :) If you are using various subnets etc, you may find it will require installing.

I agree, i usually stick a WINS server purely for backup sake and that extra bit of functionality
Keith AlabasterCommented:
Thank you :)

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