WINS Proxy Agent

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Definition of WINS Proxy Agent in Network Encyclopedia.

What is WINS proxy agent?

WINS Proxy Agent is a computer on a network that enables non-WINS clients to perform NetBIOS name resolution using Windows Internet Name Service (WINS). In other words, a WINS proxy agent is a proxy for, and acts on behalf of, non-WINS clients. WINS proxy agents are typically only needed on networks that have client computers running legacy operating systems.

WINS Proxy Agent
WINS Proxy Agent

How WINS Proxy Agent Works

WINS proxy agents are computers that have been configured to listen for NetBIOS name registration and NetBIOS name discovery broadcasts from non-WINS clients and then forward these broadcasts directly to a WINS server. These non-WINS clients are computers that cannot communicate directly using WINS and typically use broadcasts only (B-node) to perform NetBIOS name registration and resolution.

For example, if a non-WINS or B-node client wants to register its name on the network, it broadcasts a NetBIOS name registration request. The proxy agent detects this broadcast request and forwards it directly to the WINS server, which checks its WINS database to see whether the NetBIOS name is already being used on the network. If the name is in use, the WINS server responds to the proxy agent with a negative registration response, and the proxy server forwards this response back to the B-node client indicating that the name is already in use on the network.

You can configure computers running Microsoft Windows NT Server and Windows 2000 Server to operate as Windows proxy agents by making changes to their registries. Specifically, to enable a computer running Windows NT or Windows 2000 to act as a WINS proxy agent, use regedit to set the value EnableProxy equal to 1 for the following key:


WINS proxy agents limitations

WINS proxy agents must be WINS clients but cannot be WINS servers.

Install WINS proxy agents

WINS proxy agents are needed only on those subnets that have both of the following characteristics:

  • No WINS server
  • Include non-WINS clients that need to be able to resolve the names of NetBIOS computers on other subnets