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What steps are required to convert from a WORKGROUP/NETBIOS network into a FQDN network.

Do I need to assign ALL my systems to a local IP that links to a DNS server setup on Win2012? Then do I have to add the machines names to the DNS server?

On an AD network this is easy but without AD how does one do this so that network shares can be accessed via names.


Basically, I have VPN clients on laptops who come in and they can't access anything via names. DHCP is currently done at the router. Does that need to be done on the server and connected in some way to the DNS server?

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So you have a DNS server on your network running WS2012? Best way to go about doing this is to have your DNS server also act as your DHCP server on your local network. That way when a device requests DHCP it can automatically get the proper DNS server info and be assigned a FQDN . Also when you say "network shares can be accessed by names" what do you mean? You should be able to browse to any computer that has a folder shared via \\netbiosname\sharename ... Is this not the case? – Richie086 Dec 6 '13 at 22:16
also, are all computers on your network in the same windows workgroup? – Richie086 Dec 6 '13 at 22:17
Edited question to explain more :) – Frank Thornton Dec 6 '13 at 22:27

Continued from original comment

Yes, you should configure your WS2012 server to act as DNS and DHCP server on your network if possible to do so. The reason why names are not working properly might be due to the fact that the VPN clients could have the DNS settings from their ISP, so when they try to resolve machine names that are on the LAN the external DNS does not know what to point to. If you have DNS and DHCP running on the same server, the two services will communicate when DHCP requests are made. I have not attempted to do this in a non-windows domain environment before, but this should resolve your issue. Your router is not going to have any clue regarding IP/hostname mappings because it is just handing out addresses to anyone who requests one on your LAN.

You will also want to configure DHCP to use the DNS domain suffix of the domain (if you have one) so each machine will be addressable via

Is there any possibility you could test this in a separate environment before implementing? I would have to have you go though the trouble just to find out it does not work - but I am pretty sure it will.

May I ask why you are not currently running a Windows Domain?

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Thanks for the comments. +1 Not running a domain. Everything is as a WORKGROUP atm. When using a VPN do I need to edit the adapter settings and change it so they use the local DNS first then say the ISPs? – Frank Thornton Dec 7 '13 at 3:34
Windows Domain is AD right and requires all the machines to use AD? – Frank Thornton Dec 7 '13 at 15:27
Yeah windows domain = active directory. And in regard to the Dns yes you are correct, primary Dns should be the internal Dns, secondary can be the isp's dns or whatever other external Dns you want to use. – Richie086 Dec 8 '13 at 8:28
I can do the whole machinename.suffix without AD corrsct? – Frank Thornton Dec 8 '13 at 22:25
Yes, you should be able to. – Richie086 Dec 9 '13 at 5:37

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