Technical Notes Page

NT 4.0 Server - DNS & WINS Setup

DNS and WINS are tools for handling name resolution. Why we need name resolution? It is simply to get rid of those meaningless and difficult to remember IP addresses.

DNS is a static dictionary to match host names to IP addresses and vice versa. By nature, all hosts need to have fix IPs. You might wonder how to provide name resolution for dynamic IPs from DCHP Servers. In NT's world, we could achieve this by integrating WINS into DNS since WINS is a dynamic computer name to IP tools. Why we cannot just use WINS as it is a dynamic tool. The reason is that WINS just provide computer name resolution but not host name resolution. Host name is in the format of "hostname.mydomain" while computer name is just "mycomputer". When integrating WINS into DNS, DNS would use the "mycomputer" as "hostname" and append "mydomain" at the back.

DNS Settings

The followings are the recommended settings and the corresponding sample value.

Server Name nts
Zone Name (Domain Name)
Reverse Lookup Zone Name
localhost (A record)
www (Cname record)
ftp (Cname record)


  1. If you follows the procedures in Basic Setup of NT 4.0 Server in our Technical Notes Collection, skip to step 3. We recommend you read the said procedures if you have not.
  2. On your NT server, open the Network properties. Select Services Tag and click Add button. Choose "Microsoft DNS Server" and "Windows Internet Name Service" then click OK. The system then install the required files from your NT CD ROM.
  3. After the installation, nothing need to do to configure WINS Server.
  4. Open DNS Manager. Select Options/Preferences and check "Show Automatically Created Zones" and "Expose TTL" and click OK.
  5. Select DNS/New Server, and enter server name "nts" then click OK.
  6. Click on "nts" under server list on the left panel and select DNS/New Zone. Select Zone Type and Primary and click Next. Enter "" as Zone Name and press Tab, the system automatically fill up Zone file. Click Next then click Finish.
  7. Create another zone in the same way as above using Zone Name as ""
  8. Click on "" under "nts" on the left panel and select DNS/Properties. Select WINS lookup Tab and check "Use WINS Resolution" and "settings only affect local server". Add "" in WINS Servers. Click OK.
  9. Click on "" under "nts" on the left panel and select DNS/Properties. Select WINS Reverse lookup Tab and check "Use WINS Reverse Resolution" and "settings only affect local server". Type "" in DNS Host Domain. Click OK.
  10. Click on "" under "nts" on the left panel and right click on "nts" on the right panel. Choose delete record. Then click again on "" under "nts" on the left panel and select DNS/New Record, choose "A record" in Record Type and select type "nts" and "" in Host Name and Host IP Address respectively. Check "Create Associated PTR Record" and click OK. This step is to create reverse lookup record for the DNS server "nts" since NT 4.0 has a bug that it would not automatically create the reverse lookup record when the host record is added during adding a new server.
  11. Select DNS/New Record to add one more A record for "localhost" / ""
  12. Select DNS/New Record again to add Cname Record. Choose "Cname record" in Record Type and select type "www" and "" in Alias Name and For Host DNS Name respectively. Cname record is just like an alias name for an A record, you can add as much as you like but remember the final "." when you input for the "For Host DNS Name" field, this is not our typo here.
  13. Add one more Cname record for "ftp".
  14. Done, you have your DNS Server integrated with WINS for your domain network.
  15. To test your name resolution, open DOS prompt and run the following commands
  16. Alternatively, run "nslookup" on your NT Server, type any host name at the ">" prompt like nts, www, ftp, localhost. You can also try any computer name to see whether it would convert into host name format. To quit "nslookup", type "exit".

Related Links

Back to Your First Intranet Server - NT 4.0 Server

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Last modified: October 12, 1998