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Why is 'ping' unable to resolve a name when 'nslookup' works fine?

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On my Windows XP workstation, I can find the machine I want to connect to in DNS with nslookup:

nslookup wolfman
Server: dns.company.com
Address: 192.168.1.38

Name: wolfman.company.com
Address: 192.168.1.178

But, when I try to connect to that machine, I get an error telling me that the machine can't be found (i.e., can't be looked up in DNS):

C:\> ping wolfman
Ping request could not find host wolfman. Please check the name and try again.

I am able to connect if I use the IP address directly:

C:\> ping 192.168.1.178

Pinging 192.168.1.178 with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 192.168.1.178: bytes=32 time=41ms TTL=126
Reply from 192.168.1.178: bytes=32 time=41ms TTL=126
Reply from 192.168.1.178: bytes=32 time=44ms TTL=126
Reply from 192.168.1.178: bytes=32 time=38ms TTL=126

I could work around this by adding an entry to my hosts file, but I would rather find out why this is happening. The problem is transient, most of the day I can connect to the machine just fine.

How is this possible?

ETA: I left this out for brevity, but it was asked for:

C:\> ping wolfman.company.com
Ping request could not find host wolfman.company.com. Please check the name and try again.

ETA: Other applications get the same results. I only tried ping to simplify. telnet can't connect, Cygwin apps print a "unknown host wolfman" message.

Update: Using wireshark, I found that my workstation is not attempting a DNS lookup. It's just reporting the "could not find host" error message.

asked Nov 10, 2016 by skiphoppy  

11 Answers

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I was trying to figure out why on one win 7 computer I can use ping server which works, and the other it can't resolve server. However both could ping server.lan which I didn't quite understand.

Turns out I had messed with some settings (DNS suffixes) to not have to use FQDNs while using the work VPN. I had to go add my local .lan to those suffixes in order to get both computers acting the same.

Go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network Connections and right click on your network connection and hit Properties. Click Internet Protocol Version 4 and hit the Properties button. Then the Advanced... button in this new window. Go to the DNS tab, this is where I had added a DNS suffix for my work but also needed one for my normal home connections.
answered Nov 10, 2016 by eresonance  
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