How to get NetBIOS based network applications working in Win7 or Server 2008

Has your NetBIOS based network applications stopped working?

  • Have you recently upgraded your operating system to either Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008?
  • Are you using an LMHosts file to resolve the NetBIOS Name to an IP Address?

If so, there is a simple solution to your problem.

First, what is causing the problem; Windows 7 and Server 2008 no longer parse the LMHosts file during the name resolution process if you have configured one or more DNS entries in the TCP/IP settings. This does not matter whether they are configured manually or dynamically.

Second, the solution, if your applications do not support using WINS and requires the use of a LMHosts file or you do not have WINS in your environment the solution is a simple one. The first step is to modify the current entry in the LMHosts file. In the following example, the NetBIOS name of the server I am trying to resolve is Server1 with and IP Address of 172.16.48.101. Here is what the entry would look like:

172.16.48.101    Server1 #PRE

#Server1

 

 

#PRE #Server1 #PRE causes the system to preload the specified entries into the name cache. Names are now resolved from cache instead of parsing the file. Entries with the #PRE tag are loaded automatically into memory at initialization or manually by typing NBTSTAT –R at an administrative command prompt.

Note: The -R switch is case sensitive.

Note: If User Account Control (UAC) is enabled you must launch the application you are going to edit the LMHOSTS file with administrative privileges.

Keeping in mind that this file is resident on the local computer it must now be updated on all computers that require name resolution for the NetBIOS based application. Using Group Policy Object (GPO) new Preference feature to distribute the new file will simplify this process. I will blog in the future how to use a GPO to distribute or update files.

Until next, ride safe!

Rick Trader
Windows Server Instructor – Interface Technical Training
Phoenix, AZ

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