WINS: Windows Internet Name Server. WINS is a Microsoft Networking facility similar to the Domain Name Service (DNS) for resolving Internet domain site names. WINS provides the IP address of a Windows PC given the NETBIOS name. Each Windows PC to be accessible by WINS must register with a WINS server. Machines within a single Microsoft domain can use WINS, but can also find other machines directly by broadcast of names. The name requests required to do that are not propagated beyond the domain. A WINS Proxy Agent can be set up to determine the computers within a domain by broadcast methods and pass the name information to WINS servers outside the domain.

The alternative to WINS is to use a (hopefully identical) static LMHOSTS table on each computer in the network.

WINS servers are often set up on the same computers that run DHCP servers to provide IP numbers.

WINS requires that Microsoft's NETBIOS messaging be bound to TCP\IP rather than or as well as Microsoft's MBF(NETBEUI) message transfer protocol.

It is possible, and desirable, to have a secondary name server on a network. Clients using WINS services will request data from the secondary server if the primary server fails repeatedly to respond. If there is no secondary server, clients have been known to stop sending name queries to the primary server.

Return To Index Copyright 1994-2008 by Donald Kenney.