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I've got a Windows 2012 server set up as a domain controller and DNS server in my basement. On my laptop, if I set it to use the IP address of my server as the DNS server, then it works as expected. The problem with that is that I use my laptop outside my home network and I need to switch it back to automatic.

Setup is like this: ISP > Router running DD-WRT > Win 2012 DC/DNS and other network computers

How can I have my laptop find the DNS server automatically instead of using my ISP's DNS servers?

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Your laptop will get the DNS server settings from whatever device is acting as the DHCP server - most likely the DD-WRT. If you modify the DHCP options of the DD-WRT to state the DNS server as your WIN 2012 box you should receive the DNS servers automatically when you're at home and when you connect to another network you'll receive whatever DNS servers that network is set up to distribute.

Alternatively you could always statically set your DNS servers on your laptop. One would be your WIN2012 box and the other could just be 8.8.8.8. The WIN2012 box will resolve when you're at home but when that machine isn't present lookups will be forwarded to 8.8.8.8 (Google's DNS).

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