Probably easiest to start with a description of my current setup, which works (oh, and this is a home setup not an office or anything):

I have an ADSL modem with a static IP address (, and its DHCP capability is disabled. I have a permanently powered up Windows Server 2003 machine with a fixed IP ( which provides my domain controller, dhcp, and dns. The default gateway for everything is my ADSL modem everything is setup to use the WS2003 machine as the primary DNS with the ADSL modem as Secondary DNS just in case the server goes down (everything includes the server itself). Lastly, just in case it's relevant, I have my DHCP leases set to infinite (or whatever the right term is). Everything is pretty hunky dory.

Except, that is, for the fact that my server is ALWAYS on, and it isn't always used, so I'm burning juice that I don't need to - my server burns around 120W which isn't immense but isn't irrelevant either, so I'd like to put it into a stand-by state when it isn't being used (the more standby the better) and then get the clients to wake it up.

Am I correct in assuming that this won't work at the moment - A given client would need an IP address to wake the machine up, and it needs to machine to be awake to get an IP - catch 22?

Assuming I'm correct, can I move to using my router (which is always on) for DHCP? What impact will this have on DC and DNS?

Alternatively, does anyone have a better way for me to achieve this? Can I get the server to wake up when it sees clients look for a DHCP server, etc?

Wow, that came out longer than expected! Thanks for your help.


I'd recommend ditching Active Directory and just using your router for everything. The current versions of Windows Server aren't as "power saavy" as you'd like them to be, let alone Windows Server 2003. Having server computers that "wake up" isn't something that W2K3 (or even W2K8) were designed to do.

BTW: Specifying any external-to-the-forest DNS on server or client computer NIC properties / DHCP leases isn't recommended w/ AD. You're contributing to the flood of flood of dynamic update traffic on the 'net for RFC 1918 reverse-lookup zones if you're specifying ISP DNS servers anywhere in the NIC properties for client or server computers that are a member of Active Directory domains.

  • Hi Evan - thanks for the response! I only really use the domain for consistent username & passwords (everyone uses each others machines in my house), and for folder permissions. Maybe it's not worth the trouble. If it's okay, I'd like to ask a follow up "dumb" question on your BTW... Happy to accept that my setup is wrong, but why is it wrong and how should I have set it up? I thought that if the server didn't have the router as a DNS server, it wouldn't be able to resolve things outside my domain, e.g. web addresses. Also, with no server, the router would be the primary dns anyway. – NetworkingWannabie Dec 12 '09 at 14:31
  • The router itself does not function as a DNS Server, it cannot actually resolve name-to-ip addresses. Your ISP Should provide public IPs for DNS. You should not have an external IP Address for DNS when you are part of a Domain because of name resolution. If your server does not respond to a request from a computer then that computer switches to your ISP and asks for your domain name. Your ISP has no idea about your domain, so it replies with a name error. That is a response though so your computer never switches back to your own DNS, and just keeps sending requests over and over to your ISP. – Laranostz Dec 14 '09 at 18:42

Since you are using infinite leases DHCP would only be an issue for new hosts that don't yet have an IP address. Using your ADSL modem shouldn't be an issue as long as you have exclusions for your domain controller and any other hosts with static IP addresses.

It could also be used for DNS as long as it is compatible with recent BIND versions, specifically supporting SRV records and dynamic updates. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/237675

As Evan notes, Wake-on-LAN can be tricky for Windows hosts. There are also timeouts built into Windows for things the domain controller would provide like authentication. So even if you get the DC to WOL, you may have other issues.

As a compromise you may be able to work with quick timeouts for the video and hard drives which consume the most power.

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