Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Due to our internal software, I would like to be able to keep a number of virtual machines which have the first fifteen characters identical, and using the subsequent characters to maintain a unique hostname for each VM. This, of course, means that there will conflicts in NETBIOS. I am not interested in this, because I intend that we will ignore NETBIOS wherever possible, and use TCP/IP networking.

The message you get when you use a host name of greater than 15 characters seems to imply that this is a valid configuration, but will have problems for older machines (which is WfW / Windows 9x). But, of course, I am getting a few errors that I just want to ignore. I would like to ignore the message box that appears before logon, saying "Duplicate name exists.". This is preventing me from being able to automate the VMs.

As a "nice to have", I would also like to be able to use standard Windows networking e.g. \\SERVERNAME\SHARE, without having to use the server's IP address.

share|improve this question
up vote 0 down vote accepted

You should find life easier if you explicitly turn off NetBIOS over TCP/IP. You can do this from the WINS tab of Advanced TCP/IP Settings, or via your DHCP server.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, Harry, that's the answer! – Mark Bertenshaw Nov 22 '11 at 12:06

I would also like to be able to use standard Windows networking e.g. \\SERVERNAME\SHARE

This uses NetBIOS. You'd have to use \\Servername.domain.tld\share instead.

On top of that, I think that it would break a lot of applications that don't use FQDN in their queries to other machines. Unless you have a legitimate compelling reason to have the first 15 characters be the same, and it's not just for convenience, I would avoid it at all costs. There's too much legacy code around to ignore it.

share|improve this answer
Well I never - I didn't know you could use the FQDN. On the other hand, that's my fault for not trying it :-) I'm not too worried about breaking apps that don't use FQDN: I am only using the VM to test an application in development, and that only uses TCP/IP networking. As for convenience - just believe me, this configuration will save us a lot of time. I just need to know how to get rid of that wretched dialogue box! – Mark Bertenshaw Nov 21 '11 at 15:00
You can use unqualified names without NetBIOS. You just need to make sure that the relevant DNS domain is in your DNS search path. – Harry Johnston Nov 22 '11 at 2:03

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.