Q. Now that I've moved to Windows Vista or later and Windows Server 2008 or later, can I turn off WINS?

A. Probably not, unfortunately. WINS is used for the resolution of NetBIOS to IP names, while DNS is used to resolve hostnames to IP addresses. If you turn off WINS, any NetBIOS names will try to resolve through local LMHosts file content and then broadcasts, which won't be routed between subnets. In addition, DNS may be used if the OS and application allow using the default domain suffixes configured for the network connection. Many applications still use NetBIOS, but that's changing as more applications use hostnames and therefore DNS.

One way to find out if you can drop WINS is to look at how busy the WINS server is. In Performance Monitor, add the Queries/Sec WINS Server counter and the Successful Queries/sec counter, which will show if WINS is actually helping.

Monitor this for a while, and if you find WINS is not successfully being used, you could try stopping the WINS Server service, setting it to Manual, and making sure the network doesn't stop functioning. (If it does, just restart the service). Only when you've run without WINS for a long time should you remove WINS and update clients to no longer use WINS resolution. Remember to disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP also.

Click to expand.

With Windows Vista and above, network browsing no longer requires NetBIOS. Instead, it uses the Network discovery component, which in turn uses DNS, Simple Service Discovery Protocol, and uPnP.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.