Retiring WINS after migrating from Windows Server 2003

I sometimes think that WINS will be the service that out lasts every other role available on Windows Server.

I remember when I was studying for my Windows 2000 Server exams 15 years ago reading that WINs was going to be phased out. The WINS role is something you can install on the Windows Server 2016 technical preview. Since the announcement of its demise, I’ve got married, had a kid, and that kid is in high schools. WINS is a survivor. But if you still need single label name resolution, you don’t actually need WINS.

Single label name resolution is where you have name resolution for a single name into an IP address. This is the same sort of thing that WINS does. WINS is primarily for NetBIOS name resolution, but it’s often used as a sort of plug in with DNS to allow single label DNS name resolution.

From Windows Server 2012 onward, you can use a special DNS zone, termed a global names zone, for single label name resolution. Clients query the DNS server for a single name, rather than a fully qualified domain name. If the global names zone is set up correctly, the DNS server will return the result. It means you don’t have to worry as much about configuring DNS suffixes. Also, as it’s DNS, it means you can use Active Directory to replicate the global names zone to other DNS servers.

If you want to get WINS off your network, you can learn more about global names zones at:


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