WINS and Linux

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What is WINS?

WINS is NetBIOS names over TCP/IP. It is what allows Microsoft Windows machines to contact each other via their Computer name from instances i.e.


In a domestic network setup, the computer names are not included in a local DNS server and so this is where WINS comes in.

WINS & Linux

Linux doesn’t try to contact other computers with their WINS names by default so the following will activate this.

apt-get -y install winbind
apt-get -y install -f
nano /etc/nsswitch.conf

Search for the line starting with hosts (ie “hosts: files dns”)

Change it too: hosts: files wins dns

Press [CTRL] + [X] hit [Y] and then [ENTER]

/etc/init.d/networking restart

You should now be able to ping a Windows Computer name.