Windows 7 DhcpNodeType Is Still a Bummer: How I returned from teched09 to have a broken network

I use file sharing on my home network quite a bit. I don’t have a large hard drive in my laptop. I use network shares at home to watch video downloads (all Mix08, PDC08, Mix09 content!) and store some personal files.

I don’t use Active Directory. I don’t use Windows Servers. Why would I do that at home? I’m a home user after all.

Enter Windows Behavior Fail. I connected to exactly 3 wifi networks while I was away at TechEd09: TechEd, Comfort Inn, and t-mobile @ LAX. One of them used DHCP to force my node into Netbios Name Resolution point to point mode, rather than its normal hybrid mode. This means that instead of broadcasting for a netbios name, my client host would talk only to the specified WINS browser on the network.

Except I don’t have a WINS server on the network, which effectively disables Netbios Name Resolution. I came back home, plugged into (or Wifi connected, either way is the same) my home network, and I had no access to my file shares.

I’ll bet a Mac would never do this.

So, if you ever use Windows (not just if you call yourself a Windows user, mind you). Please click the link at the beginning of this post and beg Microsoft to change their behavior. I can understand disabling WINS while I am on a public WIFI. Heck, I might ever recommend it to some customers who have public WIFI, but for the setting to not revert after I am back on a different network which does not set this DHCP setting is simply unacceptable.

Of course, the network administrators work around is to forcefully set this DHCP setting to hybrid. That is fine for savvy network administrators, but it is NOT fine for the rest of us with Linksys routers doing the job of DHCP.

Incidentally, if you happen to run ISC DHCP (which I highly recommend), you can send this setting to your DHCP clients with this setting in your subnet block:

option netbios-node-type 8;

I hate to rant like this immediately after TechEd09 (which was an awesome event), but it was the most pressing issue on my return home.

TechEd 2009

I’m leaving tomorrow to go to TechEd 2009. I’ll be working the C# and F# “Ask The Experts” booths for half of the day each day Monday through Thursday. When I’m not there, I’ll be catching sessions and pretending to be an open sourcer by hanging in the Mono booth.

If you want to meet, or just say hi, stop by and do so!