Configuring a Windows 2000 PC to use the Central WINS Servers

In order to use the central WINS servers your PC must be connected to the Oxford University network via an Ethernet connection and have an IP address assigned. Generally if you can connect your PC to the University network and access the world wide web using Internet Explorer, Netscape or Opera this has been done.

NB If you are an IT Manager responsible for setting up PCs in a college, department or other unit, please make sure that you have read the Naming Standards document before you continue.

1. Configuration

1.1. Naming your PC

In order to use the central WINS servers, it is essential that your PC has a name that is unique within the whole of the University. If it doesn't, you can find that some networking services are disabled, and you cannot access some resources on the network. For example, a common reason for using WINS is in order to access the full version of OxLIP. If your PC has the same name as another PC using WINS, you may not be able to access OxLIP until you change the PC name.

  • Open the System control panel by opening My Computer, then Control Panel and then System.
  • Click on the Network Identification tab and check the entry against Full computer name:. If the name has full stop (".") characters in it, look only at the part of the name up to the first "." character. If your computer is located in a college, department or college annex, your IT officer may have already given your PC a sensible name, or given you a name to use. Your PC generally has a sensible name if it includes part of your unit (i.e. college or department etc.) name or unit acronym. Examples of sensible naming include BNCnnnn and nnnnBRAS (Brasenose), WOLFnnnn(Wolfson), nnnn.oucs (OUCS), where nnnn can be any number of numbers and letters up to a maximum name length of fifteen characters. If your PC has a sensible name, leave it as it is and skip to the Configuring the WINS Parameters section below.
  • If your PC does not have a sensible name and it is located within a college, department or college annex, ask your IT officer if they have a NetBIOS naming scheme for computers, and if so can they give you one for your PC.
  • If your IT officer is not able to give you are name or if your computer is located outside a college or department (e.g. in it is used in university accommodation, or in the libraries), you will need to make up a name as follows.
    • Start the name with XYZZ- (this ensures that the name will not clash with established naming schemes used by colleges and departments etc.)
    • Choose up to ten characters for the rest of the name (names are limited to a maximum of fifteen) characters. You need to choose something that is likely to be unique to be unique within the whole of the University. For example you could use part or all of your name and some numbers. Be careful if you have a common name, and don't just use the number 1, be more inventive! For example xyzz-sarah1 would be a bad idea, but xyzz-sarahl4918 is unlikely to be duplicated.
  • Once you have chosen a name, enter it by clicking on Properties and then entering the new name in the box under Computer Name:, then click on OK. You will see a message telling you that you have to reboot for changes to take effect.
  • Once you have checked that your computer has a sensible name and changed it if required, click on OK to exit the System control panel. If you have changed the name you will be prompted to reboot click on Yes to do so.
  • If you are unlucky and manage to choose an name that already exists, you will generally discover this when you boot up your computer you will see an error message about a duplicate name on the network. If you do get this message, simply change the name and reboot the computer again.

1.2. Checking the Existing WINS Configuration

If your PC is set to pick up its IP address details automatically, it may pick up WINS configuration details in the same way. To check whether your computer is already configured to use WINS, start a command prompt (Start then [Programs], then [Accessories], then [Command Prompt]), and in the window that appears, type ipconfig /all and press the <Return> or <Enter> key. Under the Ethernet Adapter Local Area Connection heading, look for entries for Primary WINS Server and Secondary WINS Server. If these entries exist, and the numbers for the entries are and (in either order), then your PC is already configured to use the central WINS servers and you can skip the rest of these instructions.

1.3. Configuring the WINS Parameters

  • Open the Network and Dial-up Connections control panel by opening My Computer, then Control Panel and then Network and Dial-up Connections.
  • Select the Local Area Connection entry and choose [Properties] from the [File] menu. If necessary, scroll down the list under Components checked are used by this connection: until you find the entry for Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).
  • Select the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) entry and click on Properties. Then click on the Advanced button and finally on the WINS tab.
  • Click on Add and enter the IP address of the first WINS server as if your computer is in a department or if it is anywhere else. Click on OK.
  • Click on Add again and enter the IP address of the second WINS server as if your computer is in a department or if it is anywhere else.
  • Unless your IT Officer tells you that it is required, you can generally turn off the Enable LMHOSTS Lookup option.
  • Click on OK, the OK, then OK again to exit the Local Area Connection Properties. You probably won't be prompted to reboot the PC, but you may need to do so anyway. If you try to use something that requires WINS (e.g. accessing the full version of OLIS) and it doesn't work, reboot and try again.


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Written by IT Services. Latest revision 10 February 2015