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Is there any compelling reason to be concerned with running a WINS server on a small network? What applications require the ability to resolve LANMan and/or NETBios names?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Exchange 2000 and 2003 do need WINS in larger organizations with multiple subnets. Exchange 2007 does not.

WINS is used primarily for using NetBIOS names between subnets. If you do not have multiple subnets, then you do not need WINS, as your Domain controllers will manage the names properly.

Most organizations running Windows Server 2003 or 2008 networks do not need WINS, except for legacy applications (as you have asked about). You should check with each software vendor to ensure their application will work wihtout WINS.

Microsoft's best practice is to move away from WINS and NetBIOS entirely. It is possible in some cases to resolve naming issues by setting default DNS suffix on client machines (best practice: set through DHCP), which appends the dns suffix to any single-name queries.

Also, if you are using shares or accessing device by the NetBIOS name and you are disabling NetBIOS from your network, you will need to access devices and shares using the FQDN. For example, \server1\share\file.txt would be accessed by \\share\file.txt. You'll need to update shortcuts and links to reflect these changes.

Of course you'll need to test and communicate these changes to end-users.

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Exchange, My Network Places, Network Neighborhood. You may want to setup a WINS server and see how many pings it's getting a day before you decide not to implement it or remove the WINS server.

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