DNS Name Lookup Failure when using Remote Desktop Connection Manager

I use Remote Desktop Connection Manager to RDP to my lab PCs. One particular PC wouldn’t connect via this method even though the PCs was up and running on the network.

Using Remote Desktop Connection (mstsc.exe) to connect via the PCs IP address, I could connect. Further troubleshooting showed me that I couldn’t ping or map a drive to this PC either.

The error I was getting in Remote Desktop Connection Manager was “DNS Name Lookup Failure”. Checking DNS on my domain controller showed that the PC was indeed in DNS.

Ploughing through my network adaptor settings, I came across Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network Connections\Ethernet Connection\Properties\Internet Protocol Version 4 Properties\Advanced\WINS

The default is “Use NetBIOS setting from DHCP server. If static IP address is used or the DHCP server does not provide NetBIOS setting, enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP.”

After enabling NetBIOS over TCP/IP I was able to connect via RDP, map and otherwise communicate with this server properly again.

Enable NetBIOS over TCPIP

You can also change this setting via PowerShell, unfortunately I wasn’t able to find anything in V3 that did this, so you have to use WMI, this blog post goes through the steps on how to do it.

Titan Solutions

About Phill McSherry
Phill McSherry has been working in the Australian IT industry for over 20 years and is the technical manager and solutions architect for managed services provider Titan Solutions - www.titansolutions.com.au

4 Responses to DNS Name Lookup Failure when using Remote Desktop Connection Manager

  1. I don’t think this is the problem. This happens semi frequently when I am connected to my network via Cisco VPN. It looks more like it is not respecting the DNS search order. All my hosts use FQDNs so NetBIOS would not be used. I did try your fix anyway but it doesn’t seem to improve the situation. It might also be the Cisco VPN software that is acting improperly since I have seen it temporarily wreck my IP stack before. Perhaps you have third party networking services installed as well and/or layered service providers.

    • The issue I experienced sounds different to yours. I’m connected to my local network via wifi trying to connect to this server via RDP. The server is newly built and I’m not connecting via VPN at all.

      I do agree with you that the Cisco VPN client can be pretty flakey sometimes.

      I’ve also seen this issue occur when there is a problem with the network discovery in Windows.

  2. Jason says:

    Thanks so much! I also had real issues with this one – my test server had been installed with Server 2008 but when I installed it with 2012 I could no longer RDP to it by its server-name, only by IP address. After making the change above, I can connect to it by name or IP address.

    The only thing I had to do was to flush my DNS for the change to be picked up at my end:
    ipconfig /flushdns

    Thanks again.

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