In this thread today I got clarification on the meaning of the various DNS actions. Very helpful. Now to the real question. We have a Windows DNS secondary zone that maintains a copy of our parent company's DNS. When I open the zone in DNS mmc, "all" the entries show up yet the Status for the zone is listed as "zone never loaded".

This seems odd since we can apparently resolve the hosts we need to access in this dns. What is this status trying to tell us about this zone?

  • What specific operating system are you running on your primary and secondary DNS servers?
    – dmourati
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 23:08
  • The primary I do not know. The secondary is Windows 2003
    – uSlackr
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 12:36

4 Answers 4


You're right that there is a conflicting message. A warning, plus valid data. Some things to try:

  • try adding another record to the primary and see if the secondary picks it up
  • check event viewer on your secondary to see if it offers any clues
  • are you sure all record types copied? If zone updates aren't allowed (very common nowadays) then maybe it just guessed at the basic A and MX records but wasn't able to get everything.

Use NS lookup to confirm that your zone is responding correctly. Here's a video walkthrough on how to do that. Make sure to use server secondary_dns_server to test directly from your secondary server.

  • There is quite a lot of data in the zone, but it is no longer replicationg. We suspect the parent org turned off DNS transfers without warning. After a technical review, we feel as though the correct way to handle this is to set up a conditional forwarder to their DNS and drop the zone altogether. We don't do enough queries against this to maintain a full copy (which have 40-50k records).
    – uSlackr
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 18:49
  • One more thing, we are able to connect to the zone NS and complete lookups.
    – uSlackr
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 18:51
  • That would explain it. If they allowed zone transfers when you first set it up, but turned it off later, that would account for your situation. Do you really need to host the DNS for the zone yourself? If so, the forwarder sounds like it will do the trick. Commented May 18, 2011 at 19:36
  • My confusion is over the Zone status of "zone never loaded". It just seems wrong. So, yes, I think the forwarders are our future
    – uSlackr
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 21:32
  • It does sound like incorrect terminology. It's really "zone unable to load currently". Commented May 19, 2011 at 15:29

By default, AD Integrated zones do not have zone transfers allowed. Regarding transfer status, are both TCP 53 and UDP 53 allowed between the two?

Ace Fekay

  • This is not an AD integrated zone. As for the ports, I'll verify that, but the DNS HAS host information from the DNS, it just says that it doesn't. I assume from the fact I have data that transfers are happening.
    – uSlackr
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 20:58

As I understand it with Windows DNS, zone transfers are not enabled by default. You have to enable them explicitly in the 'zone transfer' section in the properties of the primary zone.

Can you confirm if you have enabled this?

  • The only config I see is whether it allows other to transfer from it. And as I said, the zone has data, so it got it, it just doesn't say it got it.
    – uSlackr
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 13:14

We experienced the same problem on our secondary server, when the primary AD was restored from a backup.

In fact the serial number value on the secondary server was ahead of the serial number on the primary server. On the secondary server, the zones showed the status zone never loaded.

I solved the problem by deleting and re-creating the lookup zones.

The primary was a 2003, the secondary a 2012R2.

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