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Do I need WINS?

Posted on 2010-03-31
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Last Modified: 2012-05-09
Installed new 2008 R2 DC's and demoted 2003 DC's. We were running WINS, but decided to not use ti anymore as I have been told we don't need it anymore. Problem I am now facing is client software looking for license server. It requires you to find the server, but can only find computers ont he same subnet without WINS. Is there any way to see computers accross subnets through "My Network Places" or whatever these client software packages use?
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Question by:Greg27
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Expert Comment

by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 29251326
Some softwares still need WINS so you would need to keep it on the network. Now WINS won't hurt to have it installed and it allows you to view over subnets in My Network Places.

There are registry hacks that we have done before to make the clients visible across subnets but I don't remember what they are. I started not to do the hacks because of issues when we switched out hardware.
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Expert Comment

by:rizla7
ID: 29251912
you do not need WINS.

you can think of WINS as a DNS server for netbios names. it resolves netbios name requests n behalf of win95/98/me clients usually, as well as some other OSes. or if you win2000/xp/vista/etc are configured for netbios.

if not using WINS, ensure all your machines are capable of Kerberos authentication (win2000 and up) and in network properties disable (use netbios) settings. you can then block ports 135-139 used for file sharing.

DNS must be properly configured.
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Author Comment

by:Greg27
ID: 29257090
What in my DNS might be wrong if I cannot see domain computers/servers across subnets? We used to be able to see it in our Windows 2003 network with WINS installed, but since we moved to 2008 R2 and no WINS we cannot see anything outside each subnet.
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Author Comment

by:Greg27
ID: 29257524
By the way, We are running Windows 2008 servers and Windows XP workstations. We are not using the Windows firewall on the desktops, so all ports should be accessible.
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Expert Comment

by:rizla7
ID: 29264138
to browse computers in 'network computers' you need netbios/WINS. WINS definately makes things more efficient if you are using a netbios environment.

in an AD only environment tough you should only be using AD to find computers.

you can still use the FQDN to look up an IP using DNS across subnets, as long as both the forward lookup zones are configured and DHCP is configured to update DNS securely.

If you have TWO separate network segments, each should have it's own DHCP server, otherwise you will need a DHCP relay. the relay must be setup on a machine different from the DHCP server. the DHCP server is required in each segment to update DNS records on the client's behalf.

are the records showing up on your DNS server for both subnets?


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Expert Comment

by:rizla7
ID: 29265178
btw, for vista/7 here is the ad search tool

%windir%\system32\rundll32.exe dsquery.dll,OpenQueryWindow

for 2000/xp simply goto start menu -> search
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Expert Comment

by:rizla7
ID: 29265568
oh i should mention, there are also tools like LLDP protocol etc that will allow you to detect clients on the network, but it requires a software installation for XP.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=4f01a31d-ee46-481e-ba11-37f485fa34ea&displaylang=en

that is the link for XP. for vista you can enable it in the network control centre option 'enable network discovery'
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Expert Comment

by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 29282510
Certain applications still use NetBios for an example My Network places to view computers across subnets need to have WINS.
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Author Comment

by:Greg27
ID: 29510254
I installed WINS on 2 Windows 2008 R2 DC's and setup to replicate both, but one has all of the computers across the subnets and the other shows nothing. Am I missing something?
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Expert Comment

by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 29793286
Make sure you have replication setup properly.
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Author Comment

by:Greg27
ID: 29796507
Not sure if I am missing something, but Under Replication Partners for DC "A" I have DC "B" as a replication partner with type "Push/Pull". For DC "B" I have replication partner DC "A" with type "Push/Pull". Is there something else I am missing?
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Expert Comment

by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 29796973
No sounds good did you setup any restriction on when they can replicate?
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Author Comment

by:Greg27
ID: 29817300
No restrictions. I just don't understand why one DC sees all of the computers and the other cannot. Even if I didn't replicate, I would think they would find the computers on their own.
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Expert Comment

by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 29817395
Check to make sure they are pointing to WINS servers in their TCP\IP settings.
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Author Comment

by:Greg27
ID: 29817854
Looks like after a few days, both are showing all of the computers, but on a Windows 7 PC I am still only seeing the computers that are on the same subnet. No others.
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Author Comment

by:Greg27
ID: 29817901
I am also not seeing any computers on other subnets from a Windows 2003 server.
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Accepted Solution

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Darius Ghassem earned 2000 total points
ID: 29820681
Windows 7 make sure the computer browser service is started; the PC is pointing to WINS server; and the Netbios and TCP\IP is enabled.

Make sure the Windows 2003 server is pointing to the WINS in  the TCP\IP properties.
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Expert Comment

by:rizla7
ID: 29825540
all this just to see a computer in network places :\ and on a server? i thought this was for your users. lol.... why is netbios enabled on a server... i give up.. /quit question
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Author Comment

by:Greg27
ID: 29825850
I was just testing from those locations. Ultimately, we need for workstations to see the license server, but both are on different subnets. I didn't have access to an XP machine and I wasn't sure if there was a goofy Windows 7 issue, so I tested on a 2003 server that should be able to see everything across subnets. That is why i put that in.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Greg27
ID: 31709588
Looks like the last problem was due to the Computer Browser service on the DC's not being started. We started the service up and now, with WINS running as well, we can see all of the computers on the network. Thanks a ton for the help.
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