As I’ve posted before, I use a Windows Home Server to manage backups and store my media on my home network. Normally, you’d access it via its NetBIOS name: like \\WHSERVER. However, I’ve found that this functionality degrades over time. I still have no idea why, but I know how to fix it.
The First Attempt
Searching the Goolges for this this will eventually lead to a number of forum posts and blog entries telling you to enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP in your network adaptor’s Advanced IPv4 settings.
For some of my computers, this worked for a few months. Then it stopped again. I’m thinking it has to do with the DNS suffix I use on my network, but I can’t be sure.
Getting It To Work
Windows Home Server is a stripped-down version of Windows Server 2003, but includes much of that functionality (minus Active Directory). As such, I decided that a WINS server (and DHCP pointing to it) would solve all my name resolution issues.
First, I went into my router and disabled DHCP. WHS’ DHCP Server will fail to start if it detects another DHCP server running on the same subnet. I left the page open, however, as I’d need to copy all my static reservations over to the Windows server.
Install DHCP Server and WINS Server in Add/Remove Windows Components.
Follow the instructions in Help to set up an identical DHCP configuration to the one your router was providing, but include the WHS’ IP address as the primary WINS server.
Everything should work smoothly after that.
NOTE: I initially setup a DNS Server on the WHS, as well. However, I found that it was not needed and removed it. Testing after the fact shows that everything is just fine without it, as the computers do not attempt to use DNS to resolve short names unless the WINS resolution fails.