You asked if i set up a /etc/hosts file.
No, have a look at the hosts file. It is a listing of host IP addresses, and names. Here is a sample entry from mine.
Samba uses names, so I'm not sure how samba finds the IP address of a host if you don't define it.
The file exists on windoze, all versions too. It has to do with looking up the hosts on your local lan, or any where for that matter. I use static IP addresses. For that laptops that come and go I allow DHCP, but in the router I find out the MAC address, and then set up a table so one MAC always gets the same IP address. This way there are no moving targets...
Host.allow is another thing. No problem adding what you have done. What have you got in hosts.deny ?