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My company's Outlook client was experiencing slow startup times when connecting to a local WINS server over a slow WAN link. On average, it took about 15 minutes. (Two remote DNS servers were also available for intranet use.) At first, I tried to reduce the startup time by putting the server name in the HOSTS file. Although this strategy decreased the startup time dramatically—to about 1 minute—I found that I couldn't configure and maintain all the HOSTS files. Thus, I went back to using WINS as the default name resolution type.
Next, I tried the technique that the Microsoft article "How to Change Name Resolution Order on Windows 95 and Windows NT" (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/ q139/2/70.asp) recommends. However, the technique didn't work in my situation because NT resolves the names in a different way than Win95. Finally, I discovered a newer article about this problem: "Windows NT 4.0 ServiceProvider Priority Values Not Applied" (http://support.microsoft.com/ support/kb/articles/ q171/5/67.asp). This article describes a potential problem if you define your DNS server in the lookup order but don't define your Exchange server in the DNS. Because the client must poll all the DNS servers available to find the server, resolving the name over a slow WAN link (19.2KB to 64KB) can take from 5 to 30 minutes. This problem occurs only when you use the mail client to connect to the Exchange server across this slow link; when you ping the server, you don't see the delay in resolving the name, and you might think that this resolution time is normal. After I changed a Registry value, name resolution using WINS is as fast as using the HOSTS file.