How do I install Active Directory on my Windows Server 2003 server?

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How do I install Active Directory on my

Windows Server 2003 server?

Here is a quick list of what you must have:

• An NTFS partition with enough free space • An Administrator's username and password • The correct operating system version • A NIC

• Properly configured TCP/IP (IP address, subnet mask and - optional - default gateway)

• A network connection (to a hub or to another computer via a crossover cable)

• An operational DNS server (which can be installed on the DC itself) • A Domain name that you want to use

• The Windows Server 2003 CD media (or at least the i386 folder) • Brains (recommended, not required...)

Step 1: Configure the computer's suffix

(Not mandatory, can be done via the Dcpromo process).


Right click My Computer and choose Properties.



Set the computer's NetBIOS name. In Windows Server 2003, this CAN be changed after the computer has been promoted to Domain Controller.


Click More.



Click Ok.


You'll get a warning window.


Click Ok.



Click Ok.


You'll get a warning window.


Click Ok to restart.

Step 2: Configuring the computer's TCP/IP settings

You must configure the would-be Domain Controller to use it's own IP address as the address of the DNS server, so it will point to itself when registering SRV records and when querying the DNS database.

Configure TCP/IP


Click Start, point to Settings and then click Control Panel.


Double-click Network and Dial-up Connections.


Right-click Local Area Connection, and then click Properties.



Assign this server a static IP address, subnet mask, and gateway address. Enter the server's IP address in the Preferred DNS server box.

Note: This is true if the server itself will also be it's own DNS server.


Click Advanced.


Click the DNS Tab.


Select "Append primary and connection specific DNS suffixes"


Check "Append parent suffixes of the primary DNS suffix"


servers here. If this server needs to resolve names on the Internet, it should have a forwarder configured.


Click OK to close the Advanced TCP/IP Settings properties.


Click OK to accept the changes to your TCP/IP configuration.


Click OK to close the Local Area Connections properties.

Step 3: Configure the DNS Zone

(Not mandatory, can be done via the Dcpromo process).

This article assumes that you already have the DNS service installed. If this is not the case, please read Create a New DNS Server for AD.

Furthermore, it is assumed that the DC will also be it's own DNS server. If that is not the case, you MUST configure another Windows 2000/2003 server as the DNS server, and if you try to run DCPROMO without doing so, you'll end up with errors and the process will fail.

Creating a Standard Primary Forward Lookup Zone


Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click DNS Manager. You see two zones under your computer name: Forward Lookup Zone and Reverse Lookup Zone.



Click Next. The new forward lookup zone must be a primary zone so that it can accept dynamic updates. Click Primary, and then click Next.


Type the name of the zone, and then click Next.


Accept the default name for the new zone file. Click Next.


To be able to accept dynamic updates to this new zone, click "Allow both nonsecure and secure dynamic updates". Click Next.


You should now make sure your computer can register itself in the new zone. Go to the Command Prompt (CMD) and run "ipconfig /registerdns" (no

quotes, duh...). Go back to the DNS console, open the new zone and refresh it (F5). Notice that the computer should by now be listed as an A Record in the right pane.

If it's not there try to reboot (although if it's not there a reboot won't do much good). Check the spelling on your zone and compare it to the suffix you created in step 1. Check your IP settings.

Enable DNS Forwarding for Internet connections (Not



Start the DNS Management Console.



Click the Forwarders tab.


In the IP address box enter the IP address of the DNS servers you want to forward queries to - typically the DNS server of your ISP. You can also move them up or down. The one that is highest in the list gets the first try, and if it does not respond within a given time limit - the query will be forwarded to the next server in the list.


Click OK.


You can (but you don't have to) also create a reverse lookup zone on your DNS server. The zone's name will be the same as your TCP/IP Network ID. For example, if your IP address is, then the zone's name will be 192.168.0 (DNS will append a long name to it, don't worry about it). You should also configure the new zone to accept dynamic updates. I guess you can do it on your own by now, can't you?

Step 4: Running DCPROMO

After completing all the previous steps (remember you didn't have to do them) and after double checking your requirements you should now run Dcpromo.exe from the Run command.


Click Start, point to Run and type "dcpromo".


The wizard windows will appear. Click Next.



Choose Domain Controller for a new domain and click Next.



Enter the full DNS name of the new domain, for example - - this must be the same as the DNS zone you've created in step 3, and the same as the computer name suffix you've created in step 1. Click Next.

This step might take some time because the computer is searching for the DNS server and checking to see if any naming conflicts exist.



Accept the Database and Log file location dialog box (unless you want to change them of course). The location of the files is by default %systemroot%\NTDS, and you should not change it unless you have performance issues in mind. Click Next.


Accept the Sysvol folder location dialog box (unless you want to change it of course). The location of the files is by default



If your DNS server, zone and/or computer name suffix were not configured correctly you will get the following warning:

This means the Dcpromo wizard could not contact the DNS server, or it did contact it but could not find a zone with the name of the future domain. You should check your settings. Go back to steps 1, 2 and 3. Click Ok.

You have an option to let Dcpromo do the configuration for you. If you want, Dcpromo can install the DNS service, create the appropriate zone, configure it to accept dynamic updates, and configure the TCP/IP settings for the DNS server IP address.


Click Next.

Otherwise, you can accept the default choice and then quit Dcpromo and check steps 1-3.


If your DNS settings were right, you'll get a confirmation window.

Just click Next.


Accept the Permissions compatible only with Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 settings, unless you have legacy apps running on Pre-W2K servers.



Review your settings and if you like what you see - Click Next.



If all went well you'll see the final confirmation window. Click Finish.


You must reboot in order for the AD to function properly.


Click Restart now.

Step 5: Checking the AD installation



First, see that the Administrative Tools folder has all the AD management tools installed.



Run Active Directory Sites and Services. See that you have a site named Default-First-Site-Name, and that in it your server is listed.


= Good

If they don't (like in the following screenshot), your AD functions will be broken (a good sign of that is the long time it took you to log on. The "Preparing Network Connections" windows will sit on the screen for many moments, and even when you do log on many AD operations will give you errors when trying to perform them).


= Bad

This might happen if you did not manually configure your DNS server and let the DCPROMO process do it for you.

Another reason for the lack of SRV records (and of all other records for that matter) is the fact that you DID configure the DNS server manually, but you made a mistake, either with the computer suffix name or with the IP address of the DNS server (see steps 1 through 3).

To try and fix the problems first see if the zone is configured to accept dynamic updates.



On the General tab, under Dynamic Update, click to select "Nonsecure and secure" from the drop-down list, and then click OK to accept the change.

You should now restart the NETLOGON service to force the SRV registration.


Or from the command prompt type "net stop netlogon", and after it finishes, type "net start netlogon".

Let it finish, go back to the DNS console, click your zone and refresh it (F5). If all is ok you'll now see the 4 SRV record folders.



Check the NTDS folder for the presence of the required files.


Check the SYSVOL folder for the presence of the required subfolders.