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Troubleshooting WINS databases

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 8 Beta

Troubleshooting WINS databases

What problem are you having?

WINS backups are failing consistently.

Cause:  The specified WINS backup directory might be a remote drive.

Solution:  Make sure that the path for the WINS backup directory is on a local disk on the WINS server. WINS cannot back up its database files to a remote drive.

See also:  Modify backup settings

My WINS database might be corrupt.

Cause:  The WINS database might need to be deleted, either fully or partially, so its contents can be replaced from another WINS server to restore consistency and data integrity between WINS servers on your network.

Solution:  Depending upon the extent of the corruption, and whether the corrupted records are at an owner or replica WINS server, you can rebuild the local WINS database through replication with another WINS server.

To remove corrupted data at a replica (non-owner) server, use the Delete Owner command option in the WINS console. When using this feature, you can delete the owner and any of its associated records in question from local WINS data.

For an owner WINS server, you can restore data integrity by starting WINS with a fresh database and then initiating replication with a configured replication partner. At the local WINS server that has ownership of corrupted records, perform the following steps:

  1. Stop WINS.

  2. Delete all current WINS database files.

    These files are located at the path currently set in Database path on the Advanced tab in WINS server Properties for the local WINS server.

  3. Restart WINS.

When WINS is started with a blank database, it will replicate back all records (including those for which it is the registered owner) that are contained in data stored at other servers. This is because it starts with a fresh version ID that is lower than the highest version ID in use for data at any of the other WINS servers on your network.

WINS servers use record version IDs to keep track of which records are new and which need to be replicated to other WINS servers. Every record in a WINS database has an owner associated with it. This owner is generally the server with which the WINS client originally registered.

Normally, the owner (in this case, the local WINS server) does not receive its own records from its replication partners. For this reason, if records are lost from the local WINS database, it can typically be difficult to replace these records, even if they exist at other partners. In this solution, this difficulty is solved because records that exist on other WINS servers are certain to have higher version IDs than the local server after you delete the local database and restart WINS.

On a WINS network with many records, two registry entries affect the ability of WINS to perform local database replacement as described in earlier steps. The first value, InitTimeReplication, keeps the server from accepting queries or registrations until the database is reconstructed. The second, InitTimePause, causes WINS to pause while the replication takes place. The location and configurable settings for these keys are discussed more in the following tables.


  • Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer.



HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\WINS\Partners\Push (or Pull)






1 = The WINS server pulls replicas of new WINS database entries from its partners when the system is initialized or when a replication-related parameter changes.

0 = Replication occurs only as often as specified in the value of TimeInterval.









0 = WINS does not start in paused state.

1 = WINS starts in paused state.

The value set determines whether WINS starts in a paused state and remains in that state until its first replication is completed. In the paused state, WINS does not accept any name registrations, releases, or queries. WINS remains in the paused state until it has replicated with its partners or until its first replication attempt has failed.

If the value of InitTimePause is set to 1, then InitTimeReplication (in the Pull partners subkey) should either be set to 1 or deleted from the registry.

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