DNS is a good thing, but for TCP/IP Networking it is normally not needed,
Since when? M$ got hold of a DNS server source code and modified so that win machines could 'Register with DNS' ... what a concept - clients inserting their own entries in a DNS zone ...
Oops, my mistake! I meant microsoft networks not tcp/ip networking <= layer 3. DNS is only required for internet connection with a router and whatever services require it. Since N$ networknames differ from the dns-entries! Wins acts as nns not dns. With a PDC (W2k) it is a litllebit more different. DNS is nice on your gateway, even with less pc's setup as DNS cache - multiple requests go faster by that way.
Make a lmhost file like in C:\WINNT\system32\drivers\etc\lmhosts.sam with all your machines listed and your workstations don't have to browse the lan. Copy this file to all workstations (XP: c:\winnt = c:\windows !!!).
If your network naming system (DNS, WINS, NIS, etc) is setup correctly, then this is not needed.
Simple but won't refresh if your hosts change, so I would not use it. Samba can do this for you.
Build up a samba-server with wins-proxy enabled and use it as wins-server in your network setup.
If you don't have a name server on the internal network yes, but if this is a home network with 3 pcs ... overkill.
If you have mixed environment and not very intelligent users putting their machines in a lan it is a nice feature as well.
Use NetBEUI-protocoll for hostresolution (is it part of XP? I think they left it somewhere on the setup cd in an extra folder).
It is enabled by default (NetBIOS over TCP/IP) ... Be careful, if you disable this, then your Win98 machine will not talk to your WinXP or Win2K machines.
Notice NetBEUI is somehow different in XP, their made their own delicous soup in redmond with XP and M$ networks!
Setup a Samba-server as PDC and he will do for you the browselist. Disadvantage is, that the clients (mostly XP,2000,NT) want to be masterbrowser and sometimes win elections, if os-level is not propper set in /etc/samba/smb.conf.
With 3 machines overkill, but I wanted to give some examples. Philippe