DNS: Zone <zone name> master server list must not be empty

Published: July 7, 2010

Updated: October 15, 2010

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012

This topic is intended to address a specific issue identified by a Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer or Best Practices Analyzer scan. You should apply the information in this topic only to computers that have had the DNS Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer or DNS Best Practices Analyzer run against them and are experiencing the issue addressed by this topic. For more information about best practices and scans, see Best Practices Analyzer.


Operating System

Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012







There are no master servers configured for the zone.

The secondary zone on the DNS server is not being updated by primary DNS servers.

The zone will not be updated on secondary DNS servers.

Zone transfers from the primary DNS servers to the secondary DNS server will fail. DNS information in the zone might be outdated.

Update the master servers list for the zone.

Configure the list of master DNS servers for the zone to include at least one valid master server. Verify that each DNS server listed hosts a primary copy of the zone, is responding to DNS queries, and that zone transfers are allowed from the master to the secondary DNS server.

Membership in Administrators, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete these procedures. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477).

  1. On the secondary DNS server, click Start, click Run, type dnsmgmt.msc, and then press ENTER. The DNS Manager console will open.

  2. In the console tree, right-click the name of the secondary zone and then click Properties.

  3. On the General tab, click Edit.

  4. To add a server to the list under IP addresses of the master servers, click under IP Address, type the IP address of the new master server, and then press ENTER.

  5. Verify that OK is displayed under Validated.

  6. Repeat this procedure for each master server.

  7. When you have completed adding master servers to the list, click OK twice to exit.

  1. On the secondary DNS server, open an elevated command prompt.

  2. Type nslookup and press ENTER to use the nslookup tool in interactive mode.

  3. At the nslookup prompt, type the following commands, and after each one press ENTER:

    server <master server>
    ls <zone name>
  4. Zone transfers must be allowed from the master to the secondary DNS server. If the master server hosts a copy of the zone and is responding, the contents of the zone will be displayed.

  5. If contents of the zone are not displayed, remove the DNS server from the list of primary DNS servers, or determine why the master DNS server is not responding.

  6. Repeat this procedure for each DNS server in the list of master DNS servers.

  7. When you have completed validating all master DNS servers for the zone, type exit and press ENTER.


Value Description


The command-line tool for querying DNS servers.


Command to set the default server used for queries.

<master server>

Specifies the DNS host name or IP address of the DNS server to be queried.


Command to list entries in a zone. The ls command attempts a zone transfer of the specified zone from the specified server, and then displays data in the zone.

<zone name>

Specifies the zone name to be queried.

See Also

Community Additions