Configuring a Windows 95, 98 or Me 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. If not, before continuing please see local instructions for details on how to connect to the University network from your location (contact your college or department IT officer for details).

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. Checking and installing network components

If you need to use WINS, you generally need to have the Client for Microsoft Networks installed.

  • Open the Control Panel by going to the Start menu, choosing [Settings] and then [Control Panel].
  • Open the Network control panel (if you are using Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me), you will probably need to click on view all Control Panel options before you can see the Network control panel.)
  • Check that the Client for Microsoft Networks is in the list that appears under The following network components are installed(it is usually at the top of the list). If not, click on Add, select [Client for Microsoft Networks] from the box that appears and click on Add again. Then make sure that [Microsoft] is selected in the Manufacturers box on the left-hand side and then select the [Client for Microsoft Networks] from the Network Clients box on the right-hand side. Click on OK. After a short delay you should find that the Client for Microsoft Networks has been added to the list of installed network components.
  • Check whether there are any entries for NetBEUI on the list, and if so, select each in turn and click on Remove. NB occasionally, if your PC is managed by an IT Officer in a college or department, they may want NetBEUI to be installed, so check with them before removing it. However most of the time it is best removed.

1.2. 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.

  • Again in the Network control panel, click on the Identification tab. 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. The example shown below is definitely not sensible.
  • 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 a 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, change it by typing it into the box next to Computer Name:.
  • 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.

1.3. 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, select [Run] from the Start menu, type winipcfg /all and click on OK. In the drop down box next to Ethernet Adapter Information, make sure that your Ethernet adapter is selected (i.e. if it is showing PPP Adapter, change it). Now look to see whether there are any numbers shown for the Primary WINS Server and the Secondary WINS Server. If 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.

1.4. Configuring the WINS Parameters

  • Select the Configuration tab in the Network control panel again and highlight the [TCP/IP] entry for your network adapter. If you have more than one entry in the list for TCP/IP, this is generally the one that isn't called TCP/IP -> Dial-Up Adapter. For example in the picture below you would need to select the [TCP/IP -> Intel 8255x-based PCI Ethernet Adapter (10/100)] entry.
  • Click the Properties button and click on the WINS Configuration tab.
  • Click the Enable WINS Resolution radio button.
  • Enter the IP address of your Primary WINS server into the box below WINS Server Search Order as if your computer is in a department or if it is anywhere else and then click on the Add button.
  • Next enter the IP address of your Secondary WINS server into the box below WINS Server Search Order as as if your computer is in a department or if it is anywhere else and then click on the Add button.
  • You can ignore the Scope ID and Use DHCP features.
  • Click on OK to return to the Network control panel main window, and then on OK again. You will be prompted to reboot the PC, which you should do.


Service area: 

Written by IT Services. Latest revision 10 February 2015