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I am wondering what the difference between how Windows 7 and XP operate regarding DNS. In XP, I have to go an edit the host file to allow the machine to know where to go, but in Windows 7 I did not have to edit anything and it just knew where to go. I am wondering why I did not have to edit a host file in Windows 7, but I have to in XP.

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we need more information! Where were you trying to go? There is no real difference DNS is DNS it resolves a name into an IP address. –  JamesK Dec 16 '10 at 16:36
    
For the most part the DNS clients in both are very similar. In regards to how the hosts file works, they're identical. Win7 includes some other name resolution besides DNS, that might be what you're thinking of. –  Chris S Dec 16 '10 at 16:49
    
that is what it must be, must have something to do with the other name resolution methods outside of DNS that win 7 uses –  Brandon Dec 16 '10 at 16:52
    
intranet sites, the machines using win 7 and xp are all in the same domain, using a dc running server 2003 SP2. there is only one dc for the domain. I was able to resolve the internal site in windows 7 without making any changes to DNS on the server or local machine host file, but in XP I have to edit the local host files to get them to be able to resolve the site –  Brandon Dec 16 '10 at 16:53
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4 Answers

I was able to resolve the internal site in windows 7 without making any changes to DNS on the server or local machine host file, but in XP I have to edit the local host files to get them to be able to resolve the site

The difference between the two OSs is minimal. It is very likely that you have the two systems setup differently. Perhaps you have the wrong DNS servers set on the clients, perhaps you haven't properly set a search domain.

If you are editing a hosts files to make internal things work on your XP machines there is something broke on either the server or the client. Manually editing hosts file is almost never the right answer.

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it would be helpful to list the responses (from both clients) to the following commands

ipconfig /all
ping WORKSTATION
nslookup WORKSTATION
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I think I'm ready to add an answer.

I think your problem lies with the Caching of the DNS records. I would try one of 2 things. Make sure you remove the HOSTS line you added on the XP machine first.

  1. Repair your network adapter (let me know if you need me to tell you how this is done)
  2. In a command prompt on the XP machine type ipconfig /flush dns.

I think either of this will resolve your problem. Let me know if they dont.

One last thing confirm that both machines are looking at the same DNS servers, again in a command prompt type IPCONFIG /ALL and make a note of the primary and secondary DNS servers.

Hope this helps.

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Can you clarify your question? Are you referring to intranet sites or internet sites? Are these OSs joined to a domain? Are they using the same DNS servers?

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intranet sites, the machines using win 7 and xp are all in the same domain, using a dc running server 2003 SP2. there is only one dc for the domain. I was able to resolve the internal site in windows 7 without making any changes to DNS on the server or local machine host file, but in XP I have to edit the local host files to get them to be able to resolve the site. –  Brandon Dec 16 '10 at 16:40
    
when you ping the hostname did you get either a timeout or the wrong IP returned? –  JamesK Dec 16 '10 at 16:43
    
no timeout or but the ips are different in the ping from the win 7 machine and the ping from the xp machine –  Brandon Dec 16 '10 at 16:49
    
that is what it must be, must have something to do with the other name resolution methods outside of DNS that win 7 uses –  Brandon Dec 16 '10 at 16:51
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