WINS Server

heydude used Ask the Experts™
On our network, the servers all run Windows 2003, except two that run Windows 2000. All domain controllers run 2003. We do not have an Exchange Server, users connect to a hosted mail server offsite. Our users do access network shares on the 2003 servers.  The shares are mapped automatically at logon through a script. We have one domain, and use a subnet mask. We don't have any remote offices, etc.. We have a WINS server, but is it really necessary in our environment?

Thank you!
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This depends on your applications, and on your client OS's ... but most probably not, as long as DNS and DHCP is configured correctly.

What are your key business applications?

Top Expert 2013
You should not need WINS in your single domain setup there.   There was a really great thread over at activedir last fall about this question
Anyone Attempted WINS Removal?
One suggestion that is really great in that thread is sniffing traffic.  joe Richards made that suggestion (listmail entry)
We don't run WINS right now (exchange is hosted in another forest)


We use the basics. A couple of network printers, ms office, and internet apps. All clients are windows xp pro.
Systems engineer
Top Expert 2008
WINS decreases client NetBIOS broadcasts and probably improves network performance in a /16-network when not having all clients broadcasting to every other client. NetBIOS is a broadcasting protocol which isn't routed, and neads WINS/NetBT (NetBIOS over TCP/IP) to be routable. You should keep WINS if you nead to use NetBIOS for network browsing or other application depending on it, otherwise it can propably be skipped if you can disable NetBIOS broadcasting.

Article about disabling NetBIOS
Another option would be to disable NetBIOS name resolution, but leave NetBIOS enabled, this will signifcantly cut down on the broadcast traffic generated by NetBIOS, this is done using the following registry key (from

Key: Netbt\Parameters
Value Type: REG_DWORDBoolean
ValidRange: 0, 1 (false, true)
Default: 0 (false)
Description: This parameter is used to disable all NetBIOS name queries. NetBIOS name registrations and refreshes are still used, and NetBIOS sessions are still allowed. To completely disable NetBIOS on an interface, see the NetbiosOptions parameter.

In order to test getting rid of WINS is not going to cause any issues, set this registry key on a few clients and monitor them for issues.

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