Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Is WINS required for Exchange 2000 or Exchange 2003?

This seems to be a pretty common question on the newsgroups, in design meetings, and in classrooms. I was inspired this morning by Russ Kaufmann's WINS is a Friend of Mine blog entry. Read it! Yes, you should continue to include WINS servers in your designs for Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 networks. Exchange 2003 has some of it's own particular need for NetBIOS name resolution and WINS is the best solution for this. The Exchange 2000 and 2003 setup program, Exchange System Manager, Exchange 2000/2003 clustering, and ExMerge all make a the occasional name lookups using NetBIOS name resolution.

Other reasons (besides the ones that Russ well illustrates in his blog) that I have found include migration. Any migration tool that is migrating from Windows NT 4.0 will need to be able to resolve the NetBIOS name of the hosts in the Windows NT 4.0 domain as well as the domain entries themselves. Trust me, you don't want to be distributing LMHOSTS files on an enterprise-sized network.

Some good references for this include:


At 6:57 AM, Blogger Derek Fradsham said...


Your friendly canuck exchange guy here. Just wanted to make comment on the WINS/Exchange issue. While there appears to be lots of information out there about using WINS to deal with netbios name resolution issues, there is very little on what to do in DNS to minimize WINS involvement.

I currently oversee several large exchange deployments that do not rely on WINS whatsoever, and they function quite fine, thank you very much. They nature of these evironments themselves negated the use of a WINS as they are largely separate entities with many systems using exactly the same names (this is a lot more common than you would think).

The truth of the matter is that if you ensure that all your servers have the proper DNS search suffixes, and thus are able to resolve by short name all of the systems they need to communicate with, WINS becomes unnecessary.

IOW, there should be more information out there about the specifics of the issue, rather than just saying "use WINS", which is not always possible - and duplicates what you are already doing in DNS.

Derek Fradsham


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