So, my problem is not that something does not work. But that it works, and I cannot figure out why.

Short version: I am able to access \\mydomain\MyDFSRoot even though netbios/LLMNR is off, and DNS-entry mydomain.mydomain.locale does not exist. I cannot fathom why.


  • AD-Forest/Domain: MyDomain.locale
  • DFS-Namespace: MyDomain.locale/MyDFSRoot (v2)
  • Forest/Domain Level: 2008R2

Test computers:

  1. DC1 (Domain Controller - WS2019)
  2. SRV (DFS Namespace server - WS2019)
  3. CLI (Client, Windows 10 1903) (There are no other computers in this network)


  • LLMNR - Off via GPO
  • Netbios Node-Type P-Node via GPO
  • NO WINS available nor configured
  • Netbios over TCP/IP disabled on network adapters
  • SMBv1 disabled via GPO (No Computer Browser-service is running)
  • DFS-Configuration set to use FQDN on both DC and DFSn-Server (but does not seem to matter)
  • DNS suffix search list is default (mydomain.locale)
  • CLI is separated in its own network (vswitch and routed to DC/SRV), this to avoid any broadcast packets
  • No external traffic from the network nor any external DNS configuration


  • WORKS: All DFSN-paths (\mydomain(sysvol|netlogon|mydfsroot)
  • NOT WORKS: A shared folder on the DC \mydomain\dcsharedfolder
  • DELAY: If I boot the Client disconnected from the network, log on, enable networking and test.. it might take seconds/minutes before it works.
  • LLMNR/Netbios/BROWSER is OFF: I have captured all traffic, there is no trace of these protocols
  • ipconfig /flushdns, dfsutil cache * flush etc is heavily used without seeming to have any effect

Update: Possible Answer It seems I have located the network packet that will trigger the shortname to work. At some point a packet of type SMB2 will be sent Request [FSCTL_DFS_GET_REFERRALS], FILE: (Note there is no file path present)(Wireshark filter smb2.ioctl.function == 0x00060194). In turn I get the following response from the domain controller:

                    Version: 3
                    Size: 18
                    Server Type: Non-root targets returned (0)
                    Flags: 0x0002, NameListReferral
                    TTL: 600
                    Domain Offset: 36
                    Number of Expanded Names: 0
                    Expanded Names Offset: 0
                    Domain Name: \MYDOMAIN
                    Version: 3
                    Size: 18
                    Server Type: Non-root targets returned (0)
                    Flags: 0x0002, NameListReferral
                    TTL: 600
                    Domain Offset: 34
                    Number of Expanded Names: 0
                    Expanded Names Offset: 0
                    Domain Name: \MYDOMAIN.LOCALE

Now the Microsoft Article "How DFS Works" has the following quote:

"Any UNC request on the client comes to DFS first before any of the network redirectors. DFS checks its domain cache to determine whether the name is a domain name"

However, it also states that the MUP Cache must know about the path beforehand. This might explain why it initially does not work, but works 'if I wait a bit'. Checking the DFS domain cache before it starts working:


And after it starts working:

        [+TESTDC] AccessStatus: 0

The entry with [+] in front should be a referral, while [*] is "received from the workstation service". In this scenario this would imply that this works now because I have gotten a referral for the path, which is probably because something else (GPO I am thinking) access the DFS-root.

EDIT2: I checked the PID of the process that sent the query and it was the workstation service.

  • 2
    DNS-entry mydomain.mydomain.locale does not exist. And why would that be? AD doesn't work if there is not a DNS entry for the domain/forest name. DNS suffix search list is default (mydomain.locale). Could be the reason. All you need to do is perform a packet capture. – Greg Askew Oct 4 '19 at 14:47
  • You say that you captured traffic and there's no trace of NetBIOS or LLMNR... but there has to be something in the capture. What do you see in the capture? – joeqwerty Oct 4 '19 at 14:50
  • "mydomain.mydomain.locale" is NOT the forest name. – Semicolon Oct 4 '19 at 18:31
  • @GregAskew It seems to be the common way to work around this such as seen in post serverfault.com/questions/886756/… . Because mydomain.modomain.locale would make \\mydomain 'work' with DNS (using DNS suffix search list) – Zerqent Oct 7 '19 at 5:41
  • @joeqwerty Yeah I know - but the trace quickly becomes larger so there might be a number of places where this happens. Theories for today: Either the client at some point queries for the DFSn-information in LDAP - or it talks to \\mydomain.locale and is given that information somehow. – Zerqent Oct 7 '19 at 5:42

Seems i figured this out (look at question for long answer). Basically:

  • DFS uses short names without using Netbios
  • If you visit a DFSn namespace it will provide you with aliases for it - including a short version.
  • UNC tries DFS before other providers (e.g. normal name resolution)
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