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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.
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.

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