In a few days I have to reinstall a Windows Server 2016 Essentials instance on new hardware and would like to avoid an annoyance that cropped up in the initial install a few months back. To make a long story short, Microsoft’s software tacked a “.local” TLD to the domain name I chose, without any prompting that I noticed. Is there any way to ensure during server or Active Directory installation that I will end up with the exact Single Label Domain Name I input rather than a FQDN? Can this be controlled by some setting in the installation software, or through editing of the registry in some way?

I have of course already run into several posts like Microsoft’s “Deployment and operation of Active Directory domains that are configured by using single-label DNS names” that warn about the dire risks of Single Label Domain Names, but the thing is, not one of them applies to my unusual use case. This Server 2016 Essentials instance will only be accessed by a single user on a single workstation, for a single program, SQL Server, which requires an AD domain to access one of its components over a local network (some obscure functionality in Analysis Services, if I remember right). The computer will never be hooked up to the wider world, or any other computer except one; we have no use for DNS; we won’t be running Exchange Server or anything else but a local SQL Server. The addition of the .local TLD is mainly a cosmetic annoyance, but actually caused us some minor connectivity problems on a couple of occasions, mainly because it was unexpected. We’d like to avoid that this time around by ensuring the .local is not added in during the domain creation process. How can I go about doing this? It’s better to be armed with this information ahead of time, instead of encountering another surprise .local TLD half-way through the domain creation process. Thanks in advance.

  • I was able to bypass the requirement for a domain controller in my SQL Server installation, so I simply didn't install AD and left the server without any domain name. I will nonetheless leave this question up in case I or anyone else runs into the same issue with AD installation & TLDs. There is probably some registry hack or whatever to prevent this; once someone posts it, I will accept their answer and close the question constructively. It's a rare use case, but sooner or later someone else will run into the same problem and need a fix. – SQLServerSteve Jan 21 '19 at 17:59

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