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Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS)

Contributor(s): Rick Hebert and Doug Slemmer

Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS), part of the Microsoft Windows NT and 2000 Servers, manages the association of workstation names and locations with Internet Protocol addresses (IP addresses) without the user or an administrator having to be involved in each configuration change. WINS automatically creates a computer name-IP address mapping entry in a table, ensuring that the name is unique and not a duplicate of someone else's computer name. When a computer is moved to another geographic location, the subnet part of the IP address is likely to change. Using WINS, the new subnet information will be updated automatically in the WINS table. WINS complements the NT Server's Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), which negotiates an IP address for any computer (such as your workstation) when it is first defined to the network. If you're a computer user on a network connected to a Windows NT/2000 Server, you may find WINS mentioned in some of your network-related programs or system messages.

Based on Microsoft's paper, DHCP and WINS have been submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as proposed open standards in Request for Comments 1533, 1534, 1541, and 1542. New features are included in Windows 2000.

This was last updated in September 2005

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