Wins Record

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The WINS Record may be considered an antiquated concept in modern networking, but its historical relevance and importance in understanding Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) cannot be overstated. This article aims to provide a concise yet comprehensive overview of what a WINS Record is, its function, and its relevance to WINS.

What is WINS record?

A WINS Record is a specific type of record within the WINS database that stores the mapping between a NetBIOS name and an IP address. This record facilitates NetBIOS name resolution, allowing computers in a LAN to communicate without needing to know each other’s IP addresses.

adding a WINS Record

How Does It Work?

The WINS Record operates as a part of the WINS system, which is a name resolution service used predominantly in older Windows environments. When a client wishes to resolve a NetBIOS name, it queries the WINS server, which then looks up the corresponding WINS Record to return the appropriate IP address.

Examples of WINS Records

WINS Records primarily contain NetBIOS names mapped to IP addresses. Here are some simplified examples to help you understand what a WINS record might look like:

  1. Basic Record
    • NetBIOS Name: COMPUTER1
    • IP Address:
    Meaning: This record tells the WINS server that any request for COMPUTER1 should resolve to
  2. Record with Alias
    • NetBIOS Name: PRINTER
    • IP Address:
    Meaning: Here, the WINS server knows that PRINTER and its alias OFFICE_PRINTER both point to
  3. Group Record
    • IP Addresses:,,
    Meaning: This is a group record, which means that the NetBIOS name WORKGROUP could be associated with multiple IP addresses. The WINS server will return all the IPs linked to WORKGROUP.

Each of these records would be stored in the WINS database and would be referenced whenever a client makes a NetBIOS name resolution request. Understanding these records is crucial for grasping how the WINS system facilitates local name resolution.

Relationship with DNS

Though WINS and DNS both serve as name resolution services, they operate differently and serve distinct purposes. WINS is specific to Windows and NetBIOS, while DNS is a global system used for resolving domain names. However, it’s worth noting that DNS has largely superseded WINS in modern networks.

When to Use a WINS Record?

The use of WINS Records and WINS services is generally not recommended for modern networks, especially those running newer versions of Windows OS, where DNS and Active Directory are prevalent. However, understanding WINS Records can be crucial when dealing with legacy systems or for educational purposes.


While WINS Records are no longer a standard feature in contemporary network setups, their historical importance makes them a fascinating subject of study, especially in the context of Windows-based network systems. They serve as a vital component for anyone looking to understand the evolution of name resolution services on Windows platforms.


  1. Windows Server 2016 Unleashed” by Rand Morimoto and Michael Noel
  2. Networking All-in-One For Dummies” by Doug Lowe
  3. Microsoft WINS Overview: Microsoft Docs
  4. Domain Name System (DNS)
  5. WINS Proxy Agent
  6. WINS Client