WINS Registration

Note that WINS is not installed on a Windows 2000 Server by default – you will need to add the service by accessing Windows Components via Add/Remove programs in Control Panel. As was the case in NT 4, systems configured to use WINS will register their NetBIOS name to IP address mapping when they start up. The actual process consists of a name registration, with a client renewing the registration once half the TTL (time to live assigned by the WINS server) for the registration has expired. If the name a client attempts to register is already in the database, the WINS server sends a challenge to the host who has the name registered to see whether the host is active. If not, the name registration will succeed. If the other client is active, the registration will fail since machine must have unique NetBIOS names. In the same way, a client will ‘unregister’ itself in WINS upon a proper shutdown. Note that when this happens, the entry is not immediately removed from the WINS database – instead, the entry is ‘tombstoned’ and marked for extinction, a process that allows the name release to be replicated to other WINS servers. Ultimately, the record is removed from WINS once the extinction timeout period has passed.

One of the more welcome features in Windows 2000 is the ability to change your IP address without a reboot. After doing so, you should ensure that you also reregister your name registration in WINS – a process accomplished by issuing the nbtstat –RR command.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.