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Can't access network stations by its names anymore, only IP.

Posted on 2008-10-31
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Hello,

On our LAN of about 30 workstations, we lost the ability to access the server (Shared Folders) with simply typing in \\SERVERNAME in the Explorer. I can still access the server by its IP address, but all of the network settings (backups on workstations, printers, scanners) are configured to access it by its server name. The only thing that was changed is our switch for small part of the network (upgraded to Netgear Gigabit switch). The switch connects 10 workstations to the main Gigabit switch. I don't see how it can be Switch's fault - it seems to operate well.

Not sure, but Windows2003 might of downloaded some updates recently and restarted the server on its own.

Observation: Some workstations are still able to access the server by it's name: \\servername , these are desktops and some laptops that weren't removed from the office, the problem seems to only occur with laptops that are taken home and disconnected from network.

Here's our set-up:
We have 1 Windows 2003R2 server that has SharedFolders on it, workgroup, and also has Kerio WinRoute Firewall installed - the KWF software acts as a Firewall/DHCP/VPN server.

Thank You.
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Question by:Kaptain1
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8 Comments
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:tgtran
ID: 22854988
Check DNS and/or WINS settings

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Author Comment

by:Kaptain1
ID: 22855002
well, for DNS i'm using OpenDNS servers > 208.67.222.222, but i assume that's for outside the LAN. How do i check the DNS/WINS for inside the LAN? Please clarify.

Thank You.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:tgtran
ID: 22855018
Do you have internal DNS and/or WINS servers?

Open Command line (start - run - cmd) and type "ipconfig/all"

The problem is when a PC in your LAN tries to resolve computer name to IP address, if you have OpenDNS configured on that PC, it will go to OpenDNS to ask for the IP.  Of course OpenDNS will not have the IP for PC located in your LAN.  Therefore, name resolution would fail
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 22856265
I would like to help. But, so far the advice provided has been real good. So, for now I will set on the sideline and monitor this question, if you don't mind.
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Author Comment

by:Kaptain1
ID: 22864855
I haven't set-up a DNS server for our LAN, however, i assume it was functioning by default since i was able to use server names on LAN (//servername).

Since we're using Kerio WinRoute Firewall software as a Gateway for our LAN, i'll try researching more on their forum on how to troubleshoot or reset its LAN DNS capability.

... unless you guys can give me a hint :). Usually LAN DNS has just been working w/o any problems for me until now, so i don't know what steps can be taken to troubleshoot this problem.

Thank You.
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Accepted Solution

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tgtran earned 2000 total points
ID: 22868972
"LAN DNS has just been working w/o any problems" - What LAN DNS are you referring to?  OpenDNS?
In my opinion, you have not encountered name resolution until you now because you relied on NetBIOS (read this KB http://support.microsoft.com/kb/172218).

One way to test this is to use "ping -a <ip address>"
Just type in an ip address of a valid node on your network, ping will return NetBIOS name
Use "nbtstat -c" - to see the cached NetBIOS names
Use "ipconfig/displaydns"  to see resolved DNS resolutions
Do you see a patten?
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 22883673
You will have to set up a DNS server on your LAN.

Let me tell you why.

You have probably been using your router for DNS. That's fine and dandy if you have EVERYONE's credentials on each computer. Routers used as DNS servers are OK if you don't have a domain. This is because a 2003 server DNS holds what is called SRV records. SRV records point to the direction of an authentication server, (your domain controller). Your domain controller is the one thing that provides authentication to access shares on the domain computers. A router will not provide SRV records as a DOMAIN DNS server would.

Managing DNS server on your DCs is not only recommended, it is pretty much required.

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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Kaptain1
ID: 22934957
I don't use a domain,
I was able to solve the problem by setting up a WINS server pointing to my router, it works now. thanks all!
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