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Introduction to Administering Active Directory Domain Services

Updated: October 15, 2008

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2

This guide explains how to administer Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) in Windows Server 2008. These activities are part of the operations phase of the information technology (IT) life cycle. If you are not familiar with this guide, review the following sections of this introduction.

Use this guide when:

  • You want to manage common Active Directory problems that are associated with misconfiguration.

  • You want to configure AD DS to increase network availability.

This guide assumes a basic understanding of what AD DS is, how it works, and why your organization uses it to access, manage, and secure shared resources across your network. It also assumes a thorough understanding of how AD DS is deployed and managed in your organization. This includes an understanding of the mechanism your organization uses to configure and manage Active Directory settings.

This guide can be used by organizations that have deployed Windows Server 2008. It includes information that is relevant to different roles in an IT organization, including IT operations managers, administrators, and operators. This information includes management-level knowledge about AD DS and administrator-level information about the IT processes that are required to operate it.

This guide contains detailed procedures that are designed for operators (or designated users) who have varied levels of expertise and experience. Although the procedures provide operator guidance from start to finish, operators must have a basic proficiency with Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and MMC snap-ins. Operators must also know how to start administrative programs and access the command line. If operators are not familiar with AD DS, it might be necessary for IT planners, managers, or administrators to review the relevant operations in this guide and provide the operators with the parameters or data that they must enter when they perform the operations.

This guide includes the following types of topics:

  • Objectives are high-level goals for administering AD DS. Each objective consists of one or more high-level tasks that describe how the objective is accomplished. In this guide, "Managing the Windows Time Service" is an example of an objective.

  • Tasks contain groups of procedures for achieving the goals of an objective. In this guide, "Configuring a time source for the forest" is an example of a task.

  • Procedures provide step-by-step instructions for completing tasks. In this guide, "Configure a domain controller in the parent domain as a reliable time source" is an example of a procedure topic.

If you are an IT manager who is delegating tasks to operators in your organization:

  • Read through the objectives and tasks to determine how to delegate permissions.

  • Determine whether you need to install tools before operators perform the procedures for each task. Before you assign tasks to individual operators, ensure that all the tools are installed where operators can use them.

  • When necessary, create “tear sheets” for each task that operators perform in your organization. Cut and paste the task and its related procedures into a separate document. Then you can either print this document or store it online.

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