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Unable to access domain controller

Updated: March 2, 2005

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

This topic provides guidance for troubleshooting connectivity issues that can be traced to Domain Name System (DNS) configuration.


Group Policy application requires clients to access specified servers, including domain controllers and other servers such as share points and install points. Group Policy management also requires access to domain controllers. DNS is used to locate and identify these servers. In Windows Server 2003, Active Directory requires DNS support.

If the network is functioning, but clients or GPMC consoles are unable to locate the servers, there might be a problem with your network’s DNS system.


To determine whether there is a problem in DNS, use the Ping tool against the computer using the NetBIOS name, and then use the Ping tool using the fully qualified domain name of the target computer. If the first Ping works but the second does not, this indicates that there probably is a DNS problem. Use Netdiag.exe to research the problem further.

Use Dcdiag.exe to troubleshoot domain controllers and use Netdiag.exe to troubleshoot client computers. These tools can help determine both server and client DNS misconfigurations. To run Dcdiag.exe, type dcdiag /v at a command prompt on a domain controller. To run Netdiag.exe, type netdiag /v at a command prompt on a workstation or member server.

To download these tools and obtain more information, see DCDiag and NetDiag in Windows 2000 Facilitate Domain Join and DC Creation on the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=43036).

See Also

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