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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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