If you're currently using LMHOSTS in your production network, it's because someone didn't want to take the trouble to set up a WINS server. LMHOSTS is a static table that resolves a host name to an IP address.
You can check to see if you have a WINS server configured in the TCP/IP settings of the machine. If so, you should not need an LMHOSTS unless someone is having a problem with getting a specific server registered. Some shops put the name and IP address of a domain controller in the LMHOSTS file of a dial-up machine to speed up authentication.
By running NBTSTAT -r (the r must be in lower case), you can see if your
name requests are being resolved by broadcast or WINS. An LMHOSTS lookup
will appear as a broadcast.
NBTSTAT -c will show the contents of the name cache. This is loaded from
the LMHOSTS file each time you boot.
This was first published in September 2001