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I want to setup a home lab with Windows Server 2000 + win 2000 or Windows Server 2003 + win xp under VWware. I need some help (tutorial) in configuring the DNS and AD, I missed something and the client computer can't see the domain (from the network I can see the server). Any help is welcomed.

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closed as off topic by Sam Jan 19 '12 at 11:30

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Out of curiosity, why such old software? – Ben Pilbrow Jan 2 '11 at 18:34
Just for learning purposes, later I can switch to srv2008. Also I want to prepare to take a few exams. – Remus Rigo Jan 2 '11 at 19:15
This makes very much sense in a small virtual lab, as a Windows Server 2003 DC can work with as few as 256 MB of RAM, while a Windows Server 2008 one won't even be usable with less than a full GB. The same applies to a XP client vs. a Vista/7 one. – Massimo Jan 2 '11 at 19:35
just forget about Windows 2000, it's really too old a system to be useful in any way. Go for 2003 and XP. – Massimo Jan 2 '11 at 19:36
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Ok, let's do it the easy way and just skip most AD intricacies.

Let's assume your subnet is with defaut gateway, your server is and your client is

Install Windows Server 2003 on the server and configure networking as such:

Subnet mask:

The important thing is, make the server use itself as its DNS server, even if the DNS service isn't actually installed; the DC promotion process will then take care of that.

Open a command prompt, and run dcpromo.exe; choose to create a new domain in a new forest, give the domain a full DNS name (like "testdomain.lab") and accept the proposed NetBIOS name ("testdomain", in this example). When asked, choose to install and configure the DNS service on the server. Choose the restore mode password, wait for completion and reboot.

Then, configure the client as such:

Subnet mask:

Now you should be able to add the client to the domain.

Key points:

  • Each and every computer of the domain (including servers and DCs!) should use a domain controller (or more, if you have them) as its DNS server, and only that; you should never configure domain computers to use non-domain DNS servers.
  • For a basic setup such as this one, you don't need to actually configure anything in the DNS; each domain member computer populates it automatically with its own information, as long as it's using a domain DNS server; this is especially true for domain controllers, which put service location informations in there, which are then used by clients to locate the nearest DC(s).
  • By default, a Windows Server 2003 DNS server can also resolve Internet names, so you can have full Internet name resolution when your client computers are using your internal DNS server; there's no need to configure external DNS servers anywhere (except, maybe, as forwarders on your DNS servers).
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i get an error when configuring DNS server: "The Configure a DNS Server Wizard could not configure root hints. To configure root hints manually or copy them from another server, in the server properties, select the Root Hints tab." – Remus Rigo Jan 2 '11 at 20:34
Thanks, it worked. I tried to configure manually the DNS and after that the AD. But also on the client I forgot to set the preferred dns server... :) – Remus Rigo Jan 2 '11 at 21:10

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