3. WINS for MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 — Proxy Agents

Older MS-DOS, Windows 3.1 or Windows for Workgroups computers cannot be configured for WINS operation and must use network broadcasting for name resolution. A WINS proxy agent is an ordinary Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000 or XP computer that queries the central WINS servers on behalf of non-WINS enabled clients. If you have any non-WINS machines on your subnet and want them to be able to locate servers using WINS, you will need one, or preferably two proxy agents to be configured within that subnet. If you have more than one subnet, you will need to configure WINS proxy agents for each subnet.

Establishing a computer as a WINS proxy agent involves manually editing that computer’s registry. Take the precaution of backing up your registry files before performing these simple modifications since a damaged registry could result in your system becoming unusable.

3.1. Configuring a Windows 95, 98 or Me Workstation as a WINS Proxy Agent

  • Firstly, configure the computer for WINS operation in accordance with the Windows 95/98/Me instructions above.
  • Copy the user.dat and system.dat registry files to a floppy disk in case you need to restore them later. NB: These files can usually be found in your Windows directory (C:\windows); however the hidden and system file attributes may need removing before you can see them.
  • Run the registry editor regedit and navigate to the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\MSTCP
  • Add a new value of type String called EnableProxy and set its value to 1.
  • Exit the registry editor and restart the computer for your changes to take effect.

NOTE: You can verify your Windows 95/98/Me proxy status by entering winipcfg /allinto the d box from the Start menu to produce the IP Configuration dialogue box. You should be able to see a tick against WINS Proxy Enabled.

Winipcfg output showing WINS Proxy enabled

3.2. Configuring a Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 or Windows XP Computer as a WINS Proxy Agent

NOTE: You can verify your Windows NT/2000/XP proxy status by starting a DOS prompt and then running the command ipconfig /all. You should see that WINS Proxy Enabled is set to Yes.

3.3. Configuring a Samba Server as a WINS Proxy Agent

  • First configure the computer for WINS operation in accordance with the Samba instructions above.
  • In the smb.conf file add the setting wins proxy = yes and restart the smb daemon.

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