Configuring a Windows NT 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, you will need to connect your PC to the University network before continuing.

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. Instructions

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 Control Panel by clicking on Start, choosing [Settings] and then [Control Panel].
  • Open the Network control panel.
  • If necessary, click on the Identification tab and check the entry in the box next to Computer Name:. 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, change it by clicking on Change and then entering the new name in the box against Computer Name:, then click on OK
  • 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 [Command Prompt]), type ipconfig /all and press <Return> or <Enter>. Under the Ethernet Adapter heading, look for entries for Primary WINS Server and Secondary WINS Server. If there are numbers against these entries and the numbers 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

  • Select the Protocols tab in the Network control panel again and highlight the [TCP/IP Protocol] entry.
  • Click on the Properties button and then click on the WINS Address tab.
  • Enter the IP address of the Primary WINS server as if your computer is in a department or if it is anywhere else.
  • Next enter the IP address of the Secondary 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 to return to the Network control panel, and then on Close to exit. You will be prompted to reboot the PC, which you should do.


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Written by IT Services. Latest revision 10 February 2015