I've got some Linux servers on my home network that I access via "hostname.local", however when using a Windows machine they can't seem to resolve this unless I go via IP address.

How do I make it so my windows machine can resolve hostname.local addresses? I know how to edit C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts but surely there's got to be some automatic way to make Windows just find these machines?

  • How do you make this work on the Linux machines? (Because you want to use the same method on the Windows machines.) Do you configure it on each machine? Or do you have a local DNS server that resolves them for you? – David Schwartz Oct 23 '12 at 18:42
  • @DavidSchwartz Ubuntu comes with avahi out of the box so they can resolve each other just fine with no configuration from me. – Jorge Castro Oct 23 '12 at 18:45
up vote 20 down vote accepted

Usually .local names are resolved using mDNS – the Linux servers probably run Avahi, and for Windows there is Apple's own Bonjour.

An older version of Bonjour (v2.0) is included within Bonjour Print Services. It is also available as a Chocolatey package.

The latest version (v3.x) is not available as an independent download, but is installed as part of iTunes (and a few other applications). It is possible to use an archive manager (like 7-Zip or WinRAR) to extract Bonjour64.msi from the iTunes installer.

  • Don't even need to reboot after installing the msi! – Gerald Kaszuba Dec 31 '12 at 23:15
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    I'm not going to update the answer for minor releases. You can extract the latest version from iTunes.msi by using msiexec /a iTunes.msi TARGETPATH=iTunes.out. – grawity Jan 24 '13 at 12:36
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    Installer is an exe now but you can extract it with WinRAR. – Snow Blind Sep 14 '13 at 21:33
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    You can also extract it from the exe installer using 7zip, etc. – Kevin Horn Sep 5 '14 at 3:11
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    Well, Print Services inherently depends on the basic name resolution & service discovery components working. – grawity Feb 2 '17 at 6:25

As @Kevin Keane points out here (and in the comments section above), Windows 10 now clobbers mDNS port 5353 with a service that only works for modern Windows apps. So to let Bonjour back onto the port, the windows mDNS service must be quashed via the registry edit described in the link above.

Instead of the registry edit, the group policy editor can be used:

  • launch gpedit.msc
  • Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Network > DNS Client
  • Enable the "Turn off Multicast Name Resolution" policy.

I didn't have to reboot.

Caveat, I already had both iTunes and Bonjour Print Services installed. Simply uninstalling Bonjour Print Services and reinstalling didn't work -- I had to go into add-remove programs, uninstall both Bonjour and Bonjour Print Services, then reinstall Bonjour Print Services, before pinging .local addresses started working again (virtualbox host-only linux guest with avahi-daemon running). I think this is because my "Bonjour Service" service was tied to Bonjour, not Bonjour Print Services, and it wasn't re-registering itself.

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