Microsoft small business knowledge base

Article ID: 150520 - Last Review: September 30, 2013 - Revision: 1.1

This article was previously published under Q150520
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.


A Windows NT Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) server may sporadically lose its ability to resolve NetBIOS names by means of WINS. This problem may also manifest itself as domain synchronization, browsing, or connectivity problems.


This problem can occur when a WINS server is configured to point to itself as the primary WINS server and the secondary WINS server is left blank. IPCONFIG /all may show the secondary WINS server to be its own IP address but no primary WINS server is listed. When this condition occurs, all WINS name resolution for this server is lost. This can effect browsing, domain synchronization and connectivity. However, clients pointing to this machine as a WINS server are unaffected. This condition may happen occasionally or not at all.

It is highly recommended that a WINS server point to itself as Primary and Secondary WINS in the TCP/IP configuration. If another configuration is used, you may experience random instability in making certain network connections.

For additional information, please see the following article(s) in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

150737  ( ) Setting Primary and Secondary WINS Server Options


On each WINS server, double-click the Network icon in Control Panel, and select TCP/IP Protocol, then Configure. Set the addresses of the primary and secondary WINS servers to be the same as the IP address of the computer itself (this will be listed above as "IP Address"). Having WINS servers pointing to other WINS servers as primary or secondary is discouraged.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in Windows NT versions 3.5, 3.51, and 4.0. We are researching this problem and will post new information here in the Microsoft Knowledge Base as it becomes available.

  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
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