Short for Windows Internet Naming Service, a system that determines the IP address associated with a particular network computer. This is called name resolution. WINS supports network client and server computers running Windows and can provide name resolution for other computers with special arrangements. Determining the IP address for a computer is a complex process when DHCP servers assign IP addresses dynamically. For example, it is possible for DHCP to assign a different IP address to a client each time the machine logs on to the network.
WINS uses a distributed database that is automatically updated with the names of computers currently available and the IP address assigned to each one.
DNS is an alternative system for name resolution suitable for network computers with fixed IP addresses.