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I set up my Windows Server 2008 R2 box to act as a DNS server so that I could address some of the computers by name instead of IP. I'm a little rusty on DNS, so you'll have to bear with me. I configured my router to use my Server as the DNS server for the network and can successfully address machines by name from within my network. I've set up a forwarder from the DNS server to a "real" DNS server out in the real world to handle all the other DNS requests (pretty much all web requests).

Things seem to be working, I was just curious about the behavior of the Windows DNS configuration. No tutorial that I read made mention of a forwarder, but without me manually specifying one, all web searches failed (which makes sense, because my DNS server didn't define ANY .com zones).

Is the Windows DNS server supposed to default to forward requests to a real DNS server? Or do I need to configure that forwarder myself like I did.

Thanks!

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You don't usually need to configure anything, the default behaviour for the Windows DNS service is to perform recursive DNS lookups for the zones it isn't authoritative for, using the so-called "root hints" (the Internet root DNS servers).

A default forwarder is used only to speed things up, if you have a reliable DNS server you can query for Internet names.

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That's the "use root hints if no forwarders are available" option? Any idea why nslookup google.com failed without the forwarder? Did I maybe just need to restart one more time, because it should automatically have handled that case? Thanks for the info! –  Tyler DeWitt Nov 1 '11 at 18:22
    
When you define a forwarder, you can choose whether or not root hints will be used if that forwarder is unavailable. But if you don't define any forwarder, root hints should automatically be used; this is the default configuration. –  Massimo Nov 1 '11 at 18:30
    
I was just playing around with the DNS and noticed that my Root Hints list was empty. Is that supposed to be the default? –  Tyler DeWitt Nov 17 '11 at 6:37
    
No, it isn't. It should contain the Internet's root servers' addresses. –  Massimo Nov 17 '11 at 8:29

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