One of the most helpful proactive WINS measures is the verification feature, which aggressively scans your WINS servers for inconsistencies and invalid or outdated records.

Windows 2000's WINS management console provides not only a database consistency-checking option but also a Verify Name Records option. This feature verifies NetBIOS name records among WINS servers on your networks. This process involves two steps, which a wizard walks you through after you select the Verify Name Records option. First, you specify the names whose existence you want to check; second, you specify which WINS servers to query. You can create the lists of names and servers on the fly or refer to a prebuilt text file that contains this information. For the list of names, use a text file that you name names.txt; for the list of WINS servers to query, use a text file that you name servers.txt. A check box option also lets you verify the selected name records with each selected server's replication partners.

WINS uses the list of names to build a name query list, then queries the specified servers to verify that each name is registered with the server. If WINS encounters a failure, the service retries the query as many as three times at any given server.

After WINS checks the first listed name at all servers, the service proceeds to the next name in the list, then repeats the process until it has checked all listed names at all listed servers. The Verify Name Records window, which you access from the WINS management console, displays a status message for each name/server query. An OK status indicates that WINS verified the specified name at the current WINS server. A No Response status indicates that the WINS server didn't respond to the NetBIOS name query. A Name Not Found status indicates that the WINS server responded to the NetBIOS name query but couldn't resolve the name.

After WINS queries all the names at all servers, a summary appears. The summary includes the following information:

  • NetBIOS names that WINS verified to their mapped IP addresses
  • NetBIOS names that WINS couldn't resolve to their associated IP addresses
  • WINS servers that generated an incomplete response, indicating that they didn't have all the names specified for verification
  • WINS servers that didn't respond

Like database consistency checking, name verification can be resource-intensive and can slow network, disk, and processor performance—particularly if a large WINS database is involved. I recommend scheduling this activity to occur during off-peak hours when network traffic and usage are minimal. For more information about WINS's name-verification process, see the Microsoft article "Verifying Name Records in WINS in Windows 2000" (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;q225130).