Select the product you need help with
- Internet Explorer
- Windows Phone
- More products
LMHOSTS File Information and Predefined Keywords
Article ID: 102725 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q102725
The LMHOSTS file is a local text file that maps IP addresses to NetBIOS names of remote servers with which you want to communicate over the TCP/IP protocol. Windows recognizes names instead of IP addresses for network requests and a name discovery process is used to correctly route network requests with TCP/IP. Because the name discovery process is generally not routed by an IP router, the LMHOSTS file allows Windows machines to communicate using TCP/IP across a subnet.
This article is divided into the following sections:
LMHOSTS Entry CacheBy default, entries specified with the #PRE keyword are cached at initialization up to a maximum of 100 entries. More initially cached entries can be obtained modifying the following Registry value:
\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services \NetBT\Parameters\MaxPreloadThe sequence used to determine NetBIOS to IP address resolution is the following: the cache is verified, a broadcast to the subnet is performed, and then additional entries from LMHOSTS are checked. If a connection is not established within 15 seconds, the TDI times-out and an error message is displayed.
Predefined KeywordsAll predefined keywords that are valid for Windows and Windows Advanced Server computers are not valid for LMHOSTS files on Microsoft LAN Manager or Microsoft Windows for Workgroups computers. These computers can't be validated by routed domain controllers the same way Windows NT computers can. To be able to validate them, use the LAN Manager TCP/IP Extensions Service available on all OS/2 LAN Manager (version 2.1a or later) servers.
# <remark line>
Used to remark IP address to NetBIOS names.
Defines which entries should be initially preloaded into the name cache.
Distinguishes Windows Advanced Server servers from Windows workstations, a LAN Manager server, or a Windows for Workgroups computer. This keyword is needed for all servers that validate logon requests.
Avoid Directed Name Queries (DNS). Some earlier versions of LAN Manager cannot handle NetBIOS DNS requests and return error 53. Specifying this flag on the same line will avoid using NetBIOS directed name queries.
#INCLUDE <\\server_name01\sharename\LMHOSTS> #INCLUDE <\\server_name02\sharename\LMHOSTS> ... #END_ALTERNATE Defines a redundant list of alternate locations for LMHOSTS files. The recommended way to #INCLUDE remote files is using a UNC path, to ensure access to the file. Of course, the UNC names must exist in the LMHOSTS file with a proper IP address to NetBIOS name translation. #MH Associates a single, unique NetBios computer name to an IP address. You can create multiple entries for the same NetBios computer name for each NIC in the multihomed device, up to a maximum of 25 different IP addresses for the same name.
Used to define a special group, such as printers or computers that belong to groups on the intranet for easy reference, browsing or broadcasting. Special groups are limited to a total of 25 members.The first 3 keywords can be used together to specify 1 NetBIOS over TCP/IP name to IP address translation. For example:
NOTE: PDC is primary domain controller and BDC is backup domain controller.
184.108.40.206 rhinodc #PRE #DOM:rhino #PDC for rhino domain 220.127.116.11 zoobdc #PRE #DOM:rhino #BDC for rhino domain
To start with the IP Address followed by the NetBIOS name, the predefined entries can be defined in diverse order. It is recommended to insert important entries first, because the the file is accessed in sequential order.
More Information on Block Inclusion KeywordsWindows provides new block commands that permit centralized location and management of the LMHOSTS file. In addition, provisions are included to permit redundant backup copies on multiple servers. The following Windows LMHOSTS file block commands are discussed in detail below:
18.104.22.168 Trustedserver #PRE #DOM:Testing # Test group domain
In the above block inclusion, the specified LMHOSTS file is scanned under the following conditions:
#BEGIN_INCLUDE #INCLUDE \\localsrv\public\lmhosts # Local domain #INCLUDE \\Trustedserver\public\lmhosts # Server in Testing domain #END_INCLUDE
If the domain spans multiple subnets or if the domain controller for a domain is across a router, it is necessary to have an entry in the LMHOSTS file for locating the domain controller for that server, with a #DOM prefix added (for our example, trustedserver is the domain controller for domain TESTING). See the IP line above the block inclusion. This line must appear before the #INCLUDE.
In the above case, the TESTING domain has a trust relationship with the local domain. This is important for servers included in the block that are not in the local domain.
NOTE: The LMHOSTS files located on servers that are in a trusted domain should have read privileges for the Everyone group, which includes all of the local users and the trusted domain users.
Alternate Block Inclusion (#BEGIN_ALTERNATE, #END_ALTERNATE):
In this case, the "Alternate Include" condition is satisfied if one of the #INCLUDE's is successful. This means that only one LMHOSTS file will be scanned. The first successful #INCLUDE is the only LMHOSTS file that will be read.
#BEGIN_ALTERNATE #INCLUDE \\localsrv\public\lmhosts # Local domain #INCLUDE \\Trustedserver\public\lmhosts # Server in Testing Domain #END_ALTERNATE
This is helpful in keeping multiple copies of the same file on different servers. If one of the servers is down, it will attempt to read the LMHOSTS file from the alternate server identified in the block inclusion.
Additional information, including a full description of all these features, is available in the Windows Resource Kit.
Article ID: 102725 - Last Review: February 20, 2007 - Revision: 3.2