Configuring WINS in Windows Server 2008

WINS (Windows Internet Name Service), like DNS (Domain Name Service) and many other services in Windows Server 2008, now uses the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) for configuration and management. To launch the WINS snap-in, go to Administrative Tools and select the WINS option or (easier) open the Run dialog box and run the winsmgmt.msc shortcut.

One of the advantages of WINS is that clients register themselves with the service, and for the most part, you do not require to manually enter mappings. One exception is non-WINS clients and static entries.

Static entries

By entering static mappings, you make sure that WINS clients can resolve the IP addresses of non-WINS clients. Non-WINS clients include machines running under other operating systems, networks, network devices, domains, and so on. You can even insert a static IP address for another WINS server, if the connection to that WINS server is unreliable and you cannot afford to have the server lose a lease and not be capable of renewing it.

To create a static mapping, open the WINS console as described above and follow these steps:

1) Right-click the Active Registrations node on the WINS tree. Choose New Static Mapping from the context menu.

2) In the New Static Mapping dialog box, type the name of the target to be resolved in the Computer Name field.

3) Although you can add a scope name in the optional NetBIOS Scope field, this field should not be used because NetBIOS scopes are not recommended. The support is included for advanced NetBIOS solutions and applications.

4) From the Type drop-down list, select the type of name to be resolved. The following list explains the static entry types:

a) Unique: This is a unique name that can be mapped to a single IP address. Use this type if you need to add a static mapping for a server —usually another WINS server.

b) Group: Choose this type for a name that maps to a group. A group is a logical unit on the intranet. Group members, regardless of their nature, usually have their own IP addresses, but these do not need to be stored in WINS.

c) Domain Name: Choose this type to map an IP address to a domain name.

d) Internet Group: Choose this type to group resources, such as routers, hubs, and printers. You can store up to 25 members in an Internet group.

e) Multihomed: Choose this type for the name of a host that has more than one IP address. (Multi-homed usually refers to a host with more than one network interface card, but Windows Server 2008 can assign multiple addresses to a single interface.)

5) In the IP Address field, enter the IP address of the client and click OK to store the entry.

The proxy agent

The WINS proxy agent extends the WINS services to non-WINS clients by listening for their name-registration requests and broadcast-resolution requests and then forwarding them to the WINS server. To set up this service, you need to alter the registry.

Open the Registry Editor and go to the following subkey:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\NetBT\Parameters

Under the Parameters key, you will find the entry for Enable Proxy. Change this value to 1 (enabled). Unfortunately, you must then restart the server.

After it is enabled, the proxy agent forwards the non-WINS client’s broadcasts, requesting name registration to the WINS server. The name does not get registered; the intention of the proxy is to verify that the name is not already registered.

Whenever the agent detects a name-resolution broadcast, it checks its NetBIOS name cache and attempts to resolve the name to an IP address. If the name is not cached, the agent forwards the broadcast as a resolve request to the WINS server. The WINS server responds to the agent, and the agent then responds to the non-WINS client.