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We have a domain controller at our remote site that doesn't have any DNS server or DNS replication. I have just setup a client machine that was using a local account to instead use a domain account. It connected to the domain fine but I couldn't login at first as it could not contact a logon server.

I tried the normal hosts file to link the domain name to the IP of the DC but this didn't work.

I changed the domain controller DNS to look at the primary DC over demand-dial VPN. I changed the client DNS to look at the domain controller DNS.

Now I can login and authenticate to the domain but it is very slow. I can't configure certain things that rely on the domain such as adding domain users to the remote desktop users and GPupdate is failing too.

If I go to %logonserver% I get to the domain controller I want to be connected to.

I figure I am wrong that I can get DNS from the primary DC by client -> DC(secondary) -> VPN -> DC(primary).

Could you advise on a better DNS configuration? Should I not be reconfiguring the network adapter DNS to do this and instead be using LMhosts to force the client to authenticate to the domain controller.


Kind regards,


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

First of all, Windows 2000+ (Active Directory) does not have a concept of primary and secondary domain controllers. Domain Controllers are "equal" (see What is Active Directory Chapter "Availability concerns"

To your problem: I would suggest that you setup your DC in the Branch office as a DNS Server, and your problems are likely going away. Its a good practice to have Domain Controller as well as DNS in branch offices.

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Yes please, for the love of all that is sane, make that DC a DNS server! – ThatGraemeGuy Jul 16 '12 at 10:27
Thank you for the suggestion to make the DC a DNS server. Unfortunately I have very little experience with replicating domain controllers. We have 5 DC's and this is probably one of the few that does not have DNS replication. How complicated and risky is doing this? Perhaps I should organise a 3rd party supplier to do this for us. – James Pitt Jul 16 '12 at 10:34
It is very common to do this, I don't think there is a great risk. Organizing a third party is probably a good idea if you are a rookie. – MichelZ Jul 16 '12 at 10:41
Thank you for your help :) – James Pitt Jul 17 '12 at 8:00

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