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NetBIOS in Cluster Networking

Updated: May 5, 2006

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 with SP1

In Windows Server 2003, the cluster service does not require NetBIOS. A basic principle of server security is to disable unneeded services. To determine whether to disable NetBIOS, consider the following:

  • Some services and applications other than the cluster service use NetBIOS. Review all the ways a clustered server functions before disabling NetBIOS on it.

  • With NetBIOS disabled, you will not be able to use the Browse function in Cluster Administrator when opening a connection to a cluster. Cluster Administrator uses NetBIOS to enumerate all clusters in a domain.

  • With NetBIOS disabled, Cluster Administrator does not work if a cluster name is specified. Cluster Administrator calls GetNodeClusterState, which uses the remote registry APIs that, in turn, use named pipes based on the virtual name.

If you want to disable NetBIOS on a clustered server, review the following items:

  • By default, when a cluster is configured, NetBIOS is enabled on the cluster IP Address resource. To disable NetBIOS on a new cluster, clear the check box on the parameters page of the Cluster IP Address resource property sheet.

  • When you create additional IP Address resources, to disable NetBIOS, clear the NetBIOS check box.

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