What is WINS? (Windows Internet Name Service)

Network administrators sometimes would give you a couple of DNS server IP addresses  and one or two WINS server IP addresses to add to your network settings see below:

Now you are like : What do I need a WINS IP address for? I thought that DNS could easily handle the IP and the name resolutions.

In reality you do not really need WINS servers unless you still have legacy hardware and software that you want to communicate to.

WINS keeps tracks of computers or devices names something that DNS can handle alone.
The main job of WINS  “is to support older Microsoft operating systems like Windows 9x, Me,and NT 3, 4
Taken from Mastering Windows Server 2003 (page 26)

FYI : “WINS is a service run on Windows NT servers to provide Windows clients a way to find other Windows computers. WINS (Windows Internet Naming Service) resolves Windows network computer names (also known as NetBIOS names) to Internet IP addresses, allowing Windows computers on a network to easily find and communicate with each other
Taken from the internet.

Reference
What is WINS?
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc784180%28WS.10%29.aspx

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