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Preparing for Active Directory Installation

Updated: December 5, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Properly preparing for the installation of Active Directory decreases the chances of problems occurring during the installation process and helps you quickly complete the operation.

There are a number of requirements for installing Active Directory on a new domain controller in an existing domain. This task addresses general requirements with respect to Domain Name System (DNS) configuration, placement of the domain controller in a site, and connectivity for the Active Directory Installation Wizard.

After you have gathered all the information that you need to run the Active Directory Installation Wizard and you have performed the tests to verify that all the necessary domain controllers are available, you are ready to install Active Directory on your server and create an additional domain controller in the domain.

Preparation includes installing and configuring DNS and gathering information that you need for the installation.

Configuring DNS

The DNS client is always present on a server running Windows Server 2003. A DNS server must be present in the forest that stores DNS data for the server. You should properly configure both the DNS client and the DNS server to ensure that name resolution and related dependencies will function as expected during the installation of Active Directory.

Ensure that any required configuration, forwarders, or zones are present and accessible prior to installation. For more information about DNS configuration best practices, see Designing the Active Directory Logical Structure on the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=25466).

Site Placement

During installation, the Active Directory Installation Wizard attempts to place the new domain controller in the appropriate site. The appropriate site is determined by the domain controller’s IP address and subnet mask. The wizard uses the IP information to calculate the subnet address of the domain controller and checks to see if a Subnet object exists in the directory for that subnet address. If the Subnet object exists, the wizard uses it to place the new Server object in the appropriate site. If not, the wizard places the new Server object in the same site as the domain controller that is being used as a source to replicate the directory database to the new domain controller. Make sure the Subnet object has been created for the desired site prior to running the wizard.

A site is allocated according to the following rules:

  1. If you specify a site in the Unattended text file that is used to create the new domain controller, the domain controller will be placed directly into that site when it is built.

  2. If no site is specified in the Unattended text file when the new domain controller is built, then by default the domain controller will be placed in a site based on its IP address.

  3. If you specify a replica partner in the Unattended text file but do not specify a site, the new domain controller should be placed in the replica partner's site.

  4. If the replica partner or site is not specified, then the allocation of the site is random. It will depend on the replica partner selected for initial replication.

Domain Connectivity

During the installation process, the Active Directory Installation Wizard needs to communicate with other domain controllers to join the new domain controller to the domain. The wizard needs to communicate with a member of the domain to receive the initial copy of the directory database for the new domain controller. It communicates with the domain naming master for domain installs only, so that the new domain controller can be added to the domain. The wizard also needs to contact the relative ID (RID) master so that the new domain controller can receive its RID pool, and it needs to communicate with another domain controller in order to populate the SYSVOL shared folder on the new domain controller. All of this communication depends on proper DNS installation and configuration. By using Netdiag.exe and Dcdiag.exe, you can test all of these connections prior to starting the Active Directory Installation Wizard.

Task requirements

During the installation process, the wizard needs to communicate with other domain controllers to add this new domain controller to the domain and get the appropriate information into the Active Directory database. To maintain security, you must provide credentials that allow administrative access to the directory.

Before you begin your installation, the following conditions must exist in your environment:

  • Your Active Directory forest root domain must already exist.

  • If you are installing a new domain controller in a child domain, there should be at least two properly functioning domain controllers in the forest root domain.

  • DNS must be functioning properly. In this guide, it is assumed that you are using Active Directory–integrated DNS zones. You must have configured at least one domain controller as a DNS server.

Creating or removing a domain or forest is beyond the scope of this guide.

The following information and tools are necessary to complete this task:

  • The Active Directory Installation Wizard asks for the following specific configuration information before it begins installing Active Directory:

    • A domain administrator’s user name and password

    • A location to store the directory database and log files

    • A location to store the shared system volume files (SYSVOL)

    • The password to use for Directory Services Restore Mode

    • The fully qualified DNS name of the domain to which the new domain controller will be added

  • My Network Places

  • Adsiedit.msc

  • Netdiag.exe

  • Active Directory Sites and Services

  • Dcdiag.exe

To complete this task, perform the following procedures:

  1. Install the DNS Server service

  2. Verify DNS registration and functionality

  3. Verify that an IP address maps to a subnet and determine the site association

  4. Verify communication with other domain controllers

  5. Verify the availability of the operations masters

If any verification test fails, do not continue until you determine what went wrong and fix the problems. If these tests fail, the installation is also likely to fail.

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