Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Select preferred DNS or WINS network interface in Windows Server

I recently installed a second NIC card in one of the Windows 2003 servers that I manage. After installation everything appeared to be working correctly, but I noticed that the server was registering the new NIC's IP address in the DNS and WINS consoles. DNS selects to use all available interfaces by default, which I was aware of, so I right-clicked on the server within the DNS console, went to Properties, then removed the new NIC's IP address and selected "Only the following IP addresses" on the Interfaces tab. However, that didn't fix the WINS problem, and I couldn't find any settings within the WINS console for determining which interface should be the primary. After thinking about it for a little while I finally realized what was happening. When you install new NIC cards, they're added to the network services priority list in the order of installation. Since I installed this NIC after the primary NIC, it was made to be the primary by the default system action. All I had to do was change the network services priority list.

1. Open Control Panel->Network Connections
2. Go to Advanced->Advanced Settings...
3. Here you'll find all your connection objects in the Connections section, listed in the priority they're used in. Rearrange them to be in the order you want, with the highest priority connection at the top of the window
4. Click OK

This will make the highest priority connection you set be the first place network services look when trying to use a connection. Sure enough, my newly installed NIC had top priority, so moving it down the list took care of the issue. Connectivity and everything else seemed to be working fine, but it is best to make sure you have the priorities set correctly so the system isn't wasting time trying to use other connections.

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