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Samba HowTo Guide
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WINS: The Windows Internetworking Name Server

Use of WINS (either Samba WINS or MS Windows NT Server WINS) is highly recommended. Every NetBIOS machine registers its name together with a name_type value for each of several types of service it has available. It registers its name directly as a unique (the type 0x03) name. It also registers its name if it is running the LanManager-compatible server service (used to make shares and printers available to other users) by registering the server (the type 0x20) name.

All NetBIOS names are up to 15 characters in length. The name_type variable is added to the end of the name, thus creating a 16 character name. Any name that is shorter than 15 characters is padded with spaces to the 15th character. Thus, all NetBIOS names are 16 characters long (including the name_type information).

WINS can store these 16-character names as they get registered. A client that wants to log onto the network can ask the WINS server for a list of all names that have registered the NetLogon service name_type. This saves broadcast traffic and greatly expedites logon processing. Since broadcast name resolution cannot be used across network segments, this type of information can only be provided via WINS or via a statically configured lmhosts file that must reside on all clients in the absence of WINS.

WINS also forces browse list synchronization by all LMBs. LMBs must synchronize their browse list with the DMB, and WINS helps the LMB to identify its DMB. By definition this will work only within a single workgroup. Note that the DMB has nothing to do with what is referred to as an MS Windows NT domain. The latter is a reference to a security environment, while the DMB refers to the master controller for browse list information only.

WINS will work correctly only if every client TCP/IP protocol stack is configured to use the WINS servers. Any client that is not configured to use the WINS server will continue to use only broadcast-based name registration, so WINS may never get to know about it. In any case, machines that have not registered with a WINS server will fail name-to-address lookup attempts by other clients and will therefore cause workstation access errors.

To configure Samba as a WINS server, just add wins support = yes to the smb.conf file [global] section.

To configure Samba to register with a WINS server, just add wins server = 10.0.0.18 to your smb.conf file [global] section.

Samba HowTo Guide
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