Windows NT Magazine Tips: August-October 1999

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By Bob Chronister

The below tips are courtesy of Windows NT Magazine. For more information, go to or e-mail

On This Page

Cloning a Primary Domain Controller (PDC) to Create a Backup Domain Controller (BDC)
The Key Differences Between Windows NT and Windows 9X
The Future of ISDN Devices
Connecting to the Network with Digital HiNote Ultra 2000
Browser Election in Windows NT
How to Eliminate the ShutDown Button on the Start Menu

Cloning a Primary Domain Controller (PDC) to Create a Backup Domain Controller (BDC)

August 2, 1999

Q: Can you tell me whether cloning a Primary Domain Controller (PDC), adding it to an existing domain, and changing the cloned PDC into a Backup Domain Controller (BDC) in the new domain is possible? I know that the replication service between a PDC and BDC does not copy scripts and other customized files, and wonder whether this cloning procedure is feasible.

A: I've never tried cloning a PDC to create a BDC in an existing domain, but I assume this procedure is possible. The problem with cloning systems is that the primary security IDs (SIDs) are identical. Except for domain controllers that are supposed to have the same primary SIDs, systems with the same SIDs can't exist in the same domain. Given the circumstances, I see no reason why you can't clone domain controllers. Faced with a similar situation, I might take the following steps:

  1. Clone the PDC.

  2. Boot the cloned system and change its name.

  3. Boot with both systems online.

  4. Go to the system that you want to demote to BDC, and stop the NetLogon service on the current PDC by typing

    net stop netlogon 

    and then press Enter.

  5. Select the former PDC from the list of computers in the Server Manager window. You will notice that Promote To Primary Domain Controller on the Computer menu changes to Demote To Backup Domain Controller.

  6. On the Computer menu, click Demote to Backup Domain Controller.

  7. Restart the NetLogon server by typing

    net start netlogon 

    and then press Enter.

The Key Differences Between Windows NT and Windows 9X

August 16, 1999

Q: I'm trying to convince my company to upgrade its desktop systems to Windows NT Workstation 4.0. Can you provide any insight into the differences between Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 9x?

A: I frequently get questions about the differences between NT 4.0 and Windows 9x. This question is especially important and deserves careful attention when you're deciding which systems to implement. Let me give you facts that might help in your decision.

Windows NT 4.0 lets you run 16-bit Windows programs in their own address space. This feature helps prevent any one application from corrupting or unexpectedly stopping other applications that run in the same address space. Windows 9x doesn't offer this functionality.

Windows NT 4.0 supports multiprocessor systems, and Windows 9x doesn't. This functionality is especially significant in high-end graphic and CAD environments.

Windows NT 4.0 offers file-by-file security, and Windows 9x doesn't.

Windows NT 4.0 is truly 32-bit, and Windows 9x contains a significant amount of 16-bit code. As a result, Windows 9x systems can run more DOS and 16-bit programs than Windows NT.

Primarily because of the 16-bit code, Windows 9x contains significant non-reentrant code, and many threads run in single-thread mode. As a result, Windows 9x isn't as robust at multitasking as Windows NT.

Windows 9x contains several operating system (OS) pages that applications can write to from user mode. As a result, many of these user applications can crash the system, which makes Widnows NT more robust than Windows 9x.

The Future of ISDN Devices

August 30, 1999

Q: What will happen to ISDN devices, which are expensive and can be hard to configure, now that 56Kbps modems are available?

A: Compared with other connection methods, ISDN has several important advantages that will ensure its place in the industry for a while. ISDN provides rapid (several seconds) logon times and guaranteed bandwidth (you get either 64Kbps or 128Kbps connections). You can purchase an ISDN router that lets you easily provide a network-wide connection and conceal your company's internal IP systems. ISDN devices will continue to compete with modems because you can now turn most ISDN devices on and off and use them on demand (i.e., in a dial-up mode, like you can with a conventional modem).

Connecting to the Network with Digital HiNote Ultra 2000

September 13, 1999

Q: I installed Windows NT on a Digital HiNote Ultra 2000 notebook. I can't get the system to register on the network, and I get a No domain controller can be found error message. A Digital support technician told me the message was meaningless. However, I still can't access the domain. Can you help?

A: The error message you received can be benign, but it often indicates a general logon failure and denial of network resources. The Ultra 2000 has a built-in Xircom network chipset. You are receiving the error message when you try to connect to the network because the driver for the network chipset is not properly initializing the built-in network adapter. To resolve this problem, you can boot into Windows NT and perform a software reboot to initialize the network adapter and let you access the network. Or, you can start the boot process and refrain from logging on to the network for about 5 minutes to allow time for slow services to respond (an ugly approach, but one that works).

Browser Election in Windows NT

September 27, 1999

Q: Every time I look at Windows NT's Event Viewer, I see a lot of entries for browsers and elections. Is this normal? What can I do to prevent such messages?

A: Browser elections are normal occurrences in a Windows NT network. The elections guarantee that only one master browser is present in the Windows NT domain or workgroup. The election process also helps pass network information to systems as they log on to the network. Windows NT elects master browsers according to the following priority:

  • Windows NT Server installed as a Primary Domain Controller (PDC)

  • Windows NT Server

  • Windows NT Workstation

  • Other

Windows NT automatically elects the PDC to be the Domain Master Browser even if the value IsDomainMaster is set to Yes in the Registry on another Windows NT server within the domain.

If you are running workgroup servers (no domain controller) and want to force a server to be the preferred master browser, open the Registry and go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Services \Browser \Parameters key. Set the value IsDomainMaster to Yes. To prevent a Windows NT Workstation or Server (non-PDC) from acting as a browser, open the Registry and go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Services \Browser \Parameters key. Set the MaintainServerList value to No.

Many times, Windows for Workgroups (WFW) or Windows 95 clients can cause serious browser contention. These systems are notorious for trying to be the Master Browser. To prevent a WFW system from acting as a browser, create and set the following statement in the [Network] section of System.ini of the WFW client:

MaintainServerList=No (other valid entries are Yes and Auto)

Win95 machines can participate in a browser election only if you configure them for file or print sharing. To set or check the browser settings, open the Network applet in the Control Panel on the Win95 system. Scroll the Network Configuration for File and printer sharing for Microsoft Networks. Highlight this entry, and click the Properties button. Select Browse Master, and choose from Disabled, Enabled, or Automatic.

How to Eliminate the ShutDown Button on the Start Menu

October 11, 1999

Q: We have developed an application that sets the video resolution on the next startup. If we forget to run this shutdown application and use the Shut Down button on the Start menu, we have to set the video resolution on boot. How can we eliminate the Shut Down button?

A: Use your favorite Registry editor to go to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \Explorer key. Add the value No Close of type REG_DWORD. Set this value to 1 to remove the Shut Down button from the Start menu. You will still be able to use Ctrl+Alt+Delete to shut down your Windows NT machine.

Bob Chronister is a contributing editor for Windows NT Magazine and president of Chronister Consultants in Mobile, Alabama. He is co-author of Windows NT Backup and Recovery (Osborne/McGraw-Hill). You can reach him at

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