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What is the purpose of LMHOSTS?

Can you explain the basic details of LMHOSTS? I'm not sure why we need to use it.

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If you're currently using LMHOSTS in your production network, it's because someone didn't want to take the trouble to set up a WINS server. LMHOSTS is a static table that resolves a host name to an IP address.

You can check to see if you have a WINS server configured in the TCP/IP settings of the machine. If so, you should not need an LMHOSTS unless someone is having a problem with getting a specific server registered. Some shops put the name and IP address of a domain controller in the LMHOSTS file of a dial-up machine to speed up authentication.

By running NBTSTAT -r (the r must be in lower case), you can see if your name requests are being resolved by broadcast or WINS. An LMHOSTS lookup will appear as a broadcast. NBTSTAT -c will show the contents of the name cache. This is loaded from the LMHOSTS file each time you boot.

This was first published in September 2001

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