Windows NT 4.0 Clients May Refresh WINS Entries Every 10 Minutes

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Windows NT 4.0 computers that have Remote Access Service (RAS) installed or are multihomed may refresh their names with a WINS server every 10 minutes, instead of using the time-to-live (TTL) value returned by the WINS server.

This name refreshing may cause overloaded WINS servers that do not respond quickly to name registration or name refresh attempts.


When a computer that is already on a network has RAS installed, it becomes a multihomed system. Typing "ipconfig /all" (without the quote marks) will show ndiswan adapters present, in addition to the network adapter.

At startup, WINS clients register their NetBIOS names with their assigned WINS servers. This is done on all adapters that are present. If the name registration fails on any adapter, the name is marked (in memory) as still needing to be registered.

Every ten minutes, a name refresh routine is run. It checks the list of names and, if any of them were not successfully registered, the name is refreshed on ALL adapters. If the RAS link is not active, the failure to register on it will cause the name(s) to be refreshed every 10 minutes on the LAN adapter(s) as well, which can overload WINS servers.


A new version of Netbt.sys has been created that no longer exhibits this problem. It will only attempt to refresh the name on the adapter that registration failed on in the first place. The other adapter will send a name refresh at half of the TTL indicated in the registration response.

NOTE: Even with this new version of Netbt.sys, if a multihomed computer receives name registration responses that contain different TTL values (on different adapters), the lowest TTL value will be used to determine the refresh interval. For instance, if adapter "A" receives a name registration response with a TTL of 43,200 (12 hours) and adapter "B" receives a name registration response with a TTL of 86,400 (24 hours), a refresh will be sent for the name(s) at half of 43,200, or 6 hours, on each adapter.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in Windows NT versions 3.51 and 4.0. This problem was corrected in the latest U.S. Service Pack for Windows NT and Windows NT Server version 4.0. For information on obtaining the Service Pack, query on the following word in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (without the spaces):


Article ID: 164308 - Last Review: October 4, 2013 - Revision: 1.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
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