We have several Windows 2003 servers. They are not very well configured, but it works (lots of Active Directory errors in the event log, slow network, etc). The former IT tech is gone and now this is my responsibility.

All servers are domain controllers (yes, I know, this is not smart).

One server has DNS installed, among other roles. The records seems okay to me. All workstations and servers use this server for DNS. Every computer can resolve external names (ping google.com is okay). Every computer can resolve internal names (ping server3 is okay). So until this point, everything is okay.


I just discovered internal names are NOT resolved by the DNS sever.

If I use nslookup from a workstation and ask for server3, I have "server failed" (but nslookup for google.com is okay). If I use nslookup from one of our servers, it is okay for server3 and google.com

Another test: I add a CNAME or a A for whatever address. The workstation can't resolve the newly created names (most workstations are in workgroup, not in domain. Sigh...).
But the servers can resolve those newly created names!

I have restarted the DNS service.
I have restarted the physical machine hosting the DNS service.

I don't see any message in the event logs, in the system log, or in the DNS log, but we have tons of replication and policies errors.

What could be causing this behavior and how do I resolve it so that internal nom-domain-joined workstations can resolve the names of internal servers using DNS?

  • 1
    What DNS servers are you issuing from your DHCP server? Your DHCP server should only be issuing the internal DNS server, as it's the only one that knows about your internal machines.
    – Jim G.
    Jan 25, 2012 at 17:56
  • Please run the command ipconfig /all from one of the workstations, and edit your question to include this output. Also, include the IP addresses of your DCs, and the FQDN of one of them.
    – Bryan
    Jan 25, 2012 at 18:11

1 Answer 1


If you're running nslookup server3 and you're not getting a response, chances are that the default search suffix is not set on the workgroup computers. You can set this in the advanced network adapter properties.

I suspect that if you do nslookup server3.yourADdomain.com you'll get a response, assuming the workstations are actually using your AD DNS server to resolve queries. This works on the servers, because the AD domain is automatically added to the default search suffix when a computer is joined to AD.

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