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After many hours of searching for a solution to the NETBIOS NAME and IP ADDRESS cross reference problem and reading several confusing and unexplained solutions I followed the nsswitch.conf edit as described in this thread. The result was a system hang at the point where the Samba Daemons were starting.
I restarted the system and then:
1. Pressed <Esc> to get the Boot Menu
2. Selected <Recovery> mode
3. Watched the boot process until it reached the Recovery Menu
4. Selected <netroot Drop to root shell prompt with networking>
5. Watched as the network loaded successfully
6. Pressed <Ctrl-d> to get back to the Recovery Menu (I did NOT enter the password for root)
7. Selected <resume Resume normal boot>
8. Watched as the system successfully started the Samba Daemons and finished booting to the desktop
The point of all this is that I found it didn't matter what order I put on the line in nsswitch.conf for hosts: all seemed to do the same thing. It seems the reason the system is hanging is two-fold:
1. wins is somewhere on the hosts: line (files dns wins, dns files wins, wins files dns, etc.)
2. The system does NOT start the network before starting the Samba Daemons during a normal boot process
Perhaps if the network is started BEFORE the Samba Daemons are started the system hang will be avoided? If so, then how can that change be made?
Hopefully, someone will be able to use this information and come up with a solid and simple fix and an explanation for the NETBIOS NAME and IP ADDRESS cross reference problem.
I just tried this promising fix with no avail. When I was running ping on any of my LAN machine, I was obtaining my router's IP address (D-Link DIR-655). For the trick to work, I had to perform the following manipulations in addition to what you proposed:
- On my router, I disabled the Advanced DNS, which made Ping complain about unreachable hosts instead of getting my WAN's IP. If the problem persisted even with Advanced DNS turned off, I would have tried to disable DNS Relay on the router so the router would give my ISP's DNS instead of its own internal DNS.
- On my Linux boxes (Ubuntu 10.04 x86_64), I had to install libnss_wins.so.2. I had a very hard time finding the lib; it was in winbind for my distro. Before installing Winbind, I tried installing Samba to allow nmblookup to see my machines. Not sure if Samba is absolutely necessary, but Winbind IS, definitely; no Winbind => no libnss_wins.so.2, at least on my Ubuntu boxes.
Now ping works, although it is slower than if it would go through DNS. Phew! Without this, I would have had to assign static IPs to each machine and hardcode the IPs in /etc/hosts.
Note that I also tried mDNS, with no luck at all. ping hostname.local (with hostname changed with the names of my machines) worked only on the local machine! This may be due to my unusual network setup: a main D-Link router with my main computer hooked wired on it, a secondary Linksys WRT310N router with DD-WRT installed and configured as a wi-fi bridge, and a HTPC wired to the second router. The only mechanism which worked for pinging the HTPC from my main computer was WINS (or direct IP names).
I had to build this rather patchy network because I could not find any USB or PCI wireless-N adaptor working flawlessly under Linux (only previous unavailable revisions work, new revisions require compiling/patching/fixing drivers at each kernel update or use of NDISWrapper with which I had absolutely no luck).