System Error 53 When Connecting to a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN)

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Article ID: 137565 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q137565
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SYMPTOMS

When you attempt to connect to a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) from a Windows NT computer, you may receive the following error message:
System error 53 has occurred. The network path was not found.

NOTE: You may also receive this error if you misspell the name of the remote computer.

CAUSE

When you attempt to establish a NetBIOS over TCP/IP connection (such as a file share or print share) to a remote computer, your computer must:
  • Locate the IP address for the remote computer.
  • Establish a TCP/IP connection to the remote computer.
  • Establish a NetBIOS session to one of the NetBIOS names registered on the remote computer.
Windows NT 4.0 computers use the following logic when using a FQDN for this process: (for example, when you type "net use \\host1.domain2.com\public")

  • Use a DNS or hosts file to locate the IP address for host1.domain2.com.
  • Establish a TCP/IP connection to that IP address.
  • Try to establish a NetBIOS session to the NetBIOS name "host1".
  • If that fails, send an Adapter Status Query to the IP address, and parse the returned NetBIOS name table for the server name.
  • Establish a NetBIOS session to the server name.
For cases when the hostname does not match the NetBIOS (server) name, this process relies upon the Adapter Status Query, which is a UDP datagram sent to UDP port 137. In some cases, such as certain firewall environments, the Adapter Status Query may fail.

RESOLUTION

To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Windows NT 4.0 or Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
152734 How to Obtain the Latest Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack



An updated version of Rdr.sys offers a new registry parameter to slightly change the above logic:
  • Use a DNS or hosts file to locate the IP address for host1.domain2.com.
  • Establish a TCP/IP connection to that IP address.
  • Try to establish a NetBIOS session to the NetBIOS name "host1".
  • If that fails, try to establish a NetBIOS session to the NetBIOS name "*SMBSERVER ".
Please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base for more information on the *SMBSERVER name and why it is registered on Windows NT servers:
ARTICLE-ID: 161431
TITLE : Connecting to NetBIOS Resources Using DNS Names or IP Addresses

The new registry parameter that allows control of this behavior is:

   Value: FqdnUsesSmbServerName
   Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Rdr\Parameters
   Value Type: REG_DWORD - Boolean
   Valid Range: 0,1 (False,True)
   Default: 0 (False)
   Description: Setting this parameter to "1" causes your computer to try a
                NetBIOS session to the name "*SMBSERVER      " instead of
                using an Adapter Status Query when the hostname part of a
                FQDN does not match the NetBIOS computername on the target
                system.
				

STATUS

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in Windows NT 4.0 and Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition. This problem was first corrected in Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4.0 and Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition Service Pack 4.

Properties

Article ID: 137565 - Last Review: November 1, 2006 - Revision: 1.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbhotfixserver kbqfe kbbug kbfix kbnetwork kbqfe KB137565

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