Configuration Manager Remote Tools and Remote Desktop fail to connect to client machines with NetBIOS names longer than 15 characters

toolsignI recently came across an older, fairly common issue recently but I never see one of the potential workarounds mentioned so I thought I write it up here in case you run into it.

With this issue, the System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (ConfigMgr 2007) Remote Tools and Remote Desktop tools fail to connect to client computers that have a NetBIOS name longer than 15 characters even though regular Windows Remote Desktop works fine.  When your try to start Configuration Manager 2007 Remote Tools you get following error:

Unable to contact Host

When you try to use the Configuration Manager 2007 Remote Desktop client you get this error:

Remote Desktop can’t find the computer <client name>.This might mean that <Client name> does not belong to the specified Network. Verify the computer name and domain that you trying to connect to.

When trying to ping the 15+ character NetBIOS name it works, but when we try to ping the truncated NetBIOS name it errors out with the below message:

Ping Request could not find host client <truncated NetBIOS name>

NOTE In DNS, a Host (A) record is created for the 15+ character NetBIOS name (e.g. Client-PC123456789) although in the Configuration Manager console and under Active Directory users and computers it shows the truncated name consisting of first 15 characters (e.g. Client-PC123456).

Most people assume that if you have a NetBIOS name of more than 15 character (the standard, accepted limit), the only way to fix the issue is to shorten it.  While that’s definitely the preferred method, you might be able to get away by enabling "NetBIOS over TCP/IP" on the server and client.  If you have a server or client with an NetBIOS name longer than 15 characters and “NetBIOS over TCP/IP” is disabled then you’ll definitely get the errors mentioned above.

To resolve this issue, ensure that both the Configuration Manager 2007 server and the client have NetBIOS over TCP/IP enabled. You can verify this by going to Network Connection -> TCP/IP properties -> Advanced -> WINS tab -> NetBIOS.

Adeel Mohd

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