Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Windows DNS Forwarder Population

A customer contacted me today asking why when they promoted all these domain controllers, they had old DNS forwarders automatically configured on each server.

When DCPROMO installs the DNS Server service it also activates, by default, the auto-configuration of the DNS Server service. This auto-configuration process configures the forwarders list, the root-hints and the resolver, among other things, like creating the zones if required.

During the automatic configuration of the Forwarders, the following process occurs:
  1. Try to copy the forwarders list from a peer DNS server. A peer DNS server is any DNS server that has a copy of this DC domain’s zone. To get the peer server list the process queries for the NS list of the domain’s zone and then contacts each server returned on the list until it finds one from which it can copy the forwarders list. Once the process finds a peer from which it can copy the forwarders list it skips the next step. If no peer is found (because the NS query returned empty), none of them could be contacted, or none of them has forwarders configured, then move to step #2.
  2. If the previous step was not able to provide a forwarders list, then use as forwarders all the DNS Servers that are currently listed in the resolver for all the adapters, without any specific order.
  3. If none of the previous two steps can provide a forwarders list, then the new DNS server will not have forwarders configured.
If you have different DNS Forwarders configured for various sites on your network, the DNS server will automatically configure itself to one at random so make sure you check the forwarders after promoting a new server!


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