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How Test WINS Servers?

Posted on 2012-08-14
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Last Modified: 2012-08-15
In our server environment we are replacing the DNS servers and the WINS servers with new servers on a different subnet.

We have a few Win2000 servers - most are Win2003 and we're rolling out Win2008 for all new servers.

Some of my older servers have WINS settings in their static IP config, so these need to be changed along with the DNS server addresses.

Question - on a server with both DNS and WINS specified, how do I test for proper WINS resolution?  Would NetBIOS commands like Net Use work, or would they be resolved by DNS resolution instead?

Thanks for your help!
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Question by:brodeck
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 38293915
I believe what you'd have to do would be to disable NetBios over TCP/IP in the properties of the NIC, otherwise NetBios names would be resolved that way. So, if you do that and you can still resolve NetBios names (as opposed to FQDN), I would think that proves that WINS is working.  Not sure - I've never tested this scientifically although it's been self-evident a few times on some networks I've worked on - but it makes sense to me.
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by:brodeck
ID: 38294278
Hypercat - thanks for the quick reply!

As I'm changing DNS and WINS settings on production servers, I'm hoping for a more forgiving solution.  I can go down that path on my personal PC, but I hope there's a lighter solution available.
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 38296272
What I was suggesting was only for testing purposes.  What exactly is the desired end result? And when are you going to remove or replace the server that is running WINS currently? Do you really need WINS any more?  I believe, IIRC, that Win2000 still does use WINS, but Win2003, 2008 and any workstations running XP or later don't need WINS. Unless, of course, you have some other really old legacy devices or programs that require WINS for NetBios name resolution.

If you do still need WINS, I hope you use DHCP to set your workstation TCP/IP options.  In that case, all you need to do is remove the WINS options from your DHCP scope, or change that option to point to the new WINS server, and you're all set as far as the workstations go. Then you'd only have to remove or change them manually on any servers that still have that static setting.
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by:brodeck
ID: 38296606
Hypercat, thanks again for your input.

We have old programs that seem likely to require WINS.  As well, we still run Exchange 2003 and I understand from various articles that it requires WINS.

I've built new WINS servers because the older WINS servers need to be retired.  They are Win2K3 domain controllers, and we are migrating AD to 2008, so moving services off of them is desirable.

We're updating DHCP settings for the workstations - that is going smoothly.  The challenge is the servers.

My research indicates that I can change static DNS and WINS settings without rebooting a server - very helpful.  I can also test whether DNS works by flushing DNS and doing a ping of a FQDN.

I need to verify that WINS is resolving correctly on the servers.  The new WINS servers are in push/pull replication with the old, so I can't verify function by checking for registrations in WINS.

Can I do anything with NBTSTAT?  So far I haven't discovered a testing process that works.
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 38296658
Yes, you're correct about Exchange 2003 requiring NetBios.  I'm not sure about WINS being required to do this as opposed to NetBios over TCP/IP, but if you have a large network, WINS would probably speed up the NetBios name resolution.

Maybe the NBLookup tool will help:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/830578
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by:brodeck
ID: 38296734
I think that NBLookup would be helpful, but I can't seem to download it.  I tried through a variety of connections yesterday, but was unsuccessful.  Trying again today, I'm told that it can't be downloaded.

Would you mind attempting the download?  If it works for you, maybe we can work something out.  Otherwise, do you have a different download site to recommend?

Thanks for your help!
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Hypercat (Deb) earned 2000 total points
ID: 38296929
No luck for me either. I can't find any other source for downloading this tool.  It's probably been obsoleted.  Have you tried the NETDIAG /test:WINS command?

I'm not sure if this will give you the info you need, since I don't have a network running WINS on which I can test it. Give it a try and see what you get.
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by:brodeck
ID: 38297129
Using Netdiag got me exactly what I needed.

Ran this command (/debug gave the detail needed):

NETDIAG /debug /test:WINS

Among other info, got the following:

        WINS service test. . . . . : Passed
            Sending name query to primary WINS server 172.16.n.n - Passed
            There is no secondary WINS server defined for this adapter.
            The test was successful. At least one WINS server was found.

This proves decisively that the WINS server can be reached and resolves the name query.

Thanks for your help!
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 38297527
Glad I could help you figure this one out...tested my WINS archived memory for sure.

Cheers!
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