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Are there any downsides in disabling NetBIOS?

Posted on 2011-09-26
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hello Experts,

I recently ran into an error after rebooting our two servers at my company.  One server is running exchange and data and the other is our domain controller and Active Directory manager.  After rebooting, every client computer upon booting up gave a "duplicate name exists on the network" error.  It didn't mean anything since all the drives and everything still worked okay, but everytime we rebooted, that error came up.  I searched all around and couldn't find much.  I've changed the computer name and cleaned out most of AD wherever duplicate names were spotted and we still got that error.  The only thing that fixed it was disabling NetBIOS.  Funny thing is, computers which are running Windows 7 did not give that error, but all XP machines did.  I disabled NetBIOS on all the XP machines and the error is gone.  I don't know much about NetBIOS, but is there any downsides in disabling this?  Could anything potentially not work correctly with this disabled?  Thanks in advance.
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Question by:Brent Johnson
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hrr1963 earned 668 total points
ID: 36634552
Best explanation I've found:

In the Windows client world, there are two basic types of names. The first kind is a name for IP addresses. Host name resolution uses a host’s file and DNS for resolution. The second kind of name is the NetBIOS name, which is used for Windows (SMB) type sharing and messaging. These are the names that are used when you are mapping a drive or connecting to a printer. These names are resolved either by using an LMHosts file on the local machine or WINS server, or by broadcasting a request.

Taken from: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-netbios-name-resolution-really-works/5034239

:)
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by:klodefactor
klodefactor earned 668 total points
ID: 36661435
Weird that you got this error.  We have a similar mix here without problems.  Do you perhaps have some old DCs on the network?

I assume you mean you want to disable NetBIOS over TCP.  If you have a DNS server on your network, it shouldn't be a problem.  However this will disable SMB file/printer access over TCP/139.  Instead, TCP/445 (SMB over TCP) will be used.

Just for completeness: if I recall correctly, by default this may force the use of LMv2 hashes for authentication, which can cause problems with pre-XP systems and older Samba installations.  Best answer is to upgrade those systems, next best is to modify your Windows Server 2008 and/or Windows 7 systems to accept LMv1 hashes.

--klodefactor
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Author Comment

by:Brent Johnson
ID: 36665663
Well the good news is that none of the machines are older than Windows XP.
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by:Gavincr001
Gavincr001 earned 664 total points
ID: 36707572
Nope, you dont need netbios.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Brent Johnson
ID: 36897904
Thank you for the help!
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