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DNS in Windows Server 2008

The Domain Naming System (DNS) resolves host names for computer IP address queries, and vice-versa through the use of one or more databases. After DNS is installed on a new domain controller (DC), it can be configured by:

  • Forward or reverse look up zones: A forward look up zone is where the computer uses the host name to uncover the corresponding IP address. A reverse look up zone is where the computer uses the IP address to find the relevant host name.
  • Managing updates: You can allow the DNS to allow secure dynamic updates and/or insecure dynamic updates to a zone integrated with Active Directory (AD). If your zone is not integrated with AD, then updates should be disabled for safety reasons.
  • Indicating if queries should be forwarded and to which server: This usually happens if the receiving DNS server is unable to resolve the query and uses an IP address to forward the query to another server.
  • Configuring root hints: If a query cannot be resolved using records in its cache or local zones, the DNS server refers to a root hints list. The root hints list states where the query should be forwarded to next.

You can configure a DNS via either the Windows Interface or Command Prompt.

Configuring DNS – Windows Interface:

Navigate to Start – Administrative Tools – DNS. The DNS Manager opens.


Select Action and click on Configure a DNS server from the drop down list.


The Configure a DNS Server Wizard starts up. Click Next to continue.


The Select Configuration Action page displays where you can choose to create the lookup zone types that are appropriate to your network size. For our example, our organization is quite large so we decide to select Create forward and reverse lookup zones (recommended for large networks) and click Next to continue.


The Forward Lookup Zone appears requesting whether you want to create a forward lookup zone now. Select Yes, create a forward lookup zone now (recommended) radio button and select Next.


The Zone Type page displays where you choose the type of zone you want to create. Select the Primary zone radio button and ensure the Store the zone in Active Directory check box is ticked. Click Next.


On the Active Directory Zone Replication Scope page, choose how you want DNS data replicated throughout your network. To all DNS servers in this forest: CloudBT is already selected by default. In this case, we accept the default settings and press Next.


The Zone Name page comes up where you enter in the name of the forward lookup zone. Press Next.


On the Dynamic Update page, specify the type of dynamic updates (secure or nonsecure) you want to allow. In our case, we choose Allow only secure dynamic update (recommended for Active Directory) and click Next.


The Reverse Lookup Zone appears requesting whether you want to create a reverse lookup zone now. Select Yes, create a reverse lookup zone now radio button and select Next.


On the Forwarders page, you are able to specify one or more DNS servers to which the new server you are configuring must forward queries it can’t resolve. For our example since we are aware of the IP address of the DNS server, click the radio button Yes, it should forward queries to DNS servers with the following IP addresses:. Press on the field that reads Click here to add an IP address or DNS Name and enter in a relevant IP address. Click below the entry to set the address and select Next to continue.


In order to apply the settings you have selected, click Finish on the final page of the Wizard. The DNS server is now successfully configured.

Configuring DNS – Command Prompt:

Click Start and type CMD. Right click CMD and select ‘Run as Administrator’ to open the Command Prompt.

Using the dnscmd utility enter in the following:
dnscmd <server_name > /config {<zone_name>|..AllZones) <property> <value>

ServerName – host name or IP address of the DNS server. To specify the DNS server on the local computer, you can also type a period (.).

/config {<zone_name> – Specifies the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the zone.

…Allzones) – Configure all zones that are hosted on the specified DNS server to allow dynamic updates.

 <Property> – parameter specifies the server properties – such as RpcProtocol and Loglevel – or the zone properties – such as Allow update and Aging – that must be configured.

The following command, for example, can be used to configure DNS on the local computer:

dnscmd . /config myzone4.local /allowupdate 2


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