11 Tricks for Windows servers

Knowledge

10. Joining a Domain

To join a computer to a domain, call sysdm.cpl from the Start menu. Click the Change button in the Computer Name tab and enter the name of the computer to be joined to the domain in the Computer description field. Next, activate the Domain option in the Member of section and enter the DNS name of the domain that you want the client to join.

Finally, you need to authenticate against the domain. If the login credentials have been entered successfully, the server is added to the domain. As in previous versions of Windows, you need to reboot the computer after joining the domain. Afterward, you can log on to the domain with your username. You can also use PowerShell,

Rename-Computer -Name <Computername>
Add-Computer -DomainName <DomainName>
Restart-Computer

to assign names to servers, restart them, and join them to domains.

11. Optimizing DNS Settings for AD

The TCP/IP | Properties | Advanced | DNS IPv4 and IPv6 protocols lets you access additional settings to set up name resolution optimally on the network by DNS or WINS. The individual options play a significant role in name resolution in a DNS infrastructure:

  • Append primary and connection specific DNS suffixes : The computer will always try to append the configured primary DNS suffix of its own computer name automatically when resolving computer names. For example, if you want to resolve the dc01 hostname, the computer will attempt a name resolution to dc01.contoso.int if the computer's primary DNS suffix is contoso.int .
  • Append parent suffixes of the primary DNS suffix : The names of parent domains are used in name resolution, as well. For example, if you want to resolve a server named dc05 in a subordinate domain named muenchen.de.contoso.int , the computer will first try to resolve dc05.muenchen.de.contoso.int if this is the computer's primary DNS suffix. Afterward, the computer tries to resolve the names dc05.de.contoso.int and then dc05.contoso.int , because these domains are at higher levels compared with the first domain attempted.
  • Append these DNS suffixes (in order) : This option lets you configure DNS suffixes that resolve incomplete host names. Neither the primary DNS suffix of the server nor the DNS suffixes of this connection are used. Instead, the DNS suffixes are appended in the order configured in this field.
  • DNS suffix for this connection : If the computer cannot find the entered name on its configured DNS server by using its own primary DNS suffix, it tries the DNS suffix entered in this field. If you want to resolve a server named dc06 , the machine will first try resolving to dc06.contoso.int if that is its primary DNS suffix. However, if you also enter the suffix muenchen.de.microsoft.int , the computer also will try to resolve the name dc06.muenchen.de.microsoft.int .
  • Register this connection's addresses in DNS : A DNS server can register entries dynamically. As soon as a computer logs on to the network, it tries to register its FQDN automatically with the configured DNS server.
  • Use this connection's DNS suffix in DNS registration : If you enable this option, the server name is registered with its computer name and its primary DNS suffix (i.e., its FQDN).

Conclusions

Many options for tuning Windows servers are not always directly visible or accessible, although the operations involved are often quite simple. Some inside knowledge can make an admin's life far easier. This article reveals a few of the tricks, many of which rely on PowerShell, the Windows admin's best friend.

The Author

Thomas Joos is a freelance IT consultant and has been working in IT for more than 20 years. In addition, he writes hands-on books and papers on Windows and other Microsoft topics. Online you can meet him on http://thomasjoos.spaces.live.com.

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