Server 2003 Tutorials

This tutorial explains how to install and configure DNS Server in Windows Server 2003 step by step including difference between NetBIOS and DNS.

Virtually every computer requires a mechanism to resolve name to IP addresses.

This requirement arise because IP address consist of four groups of number (Version 4, Version 6 consist 6 groups) and can be difficult for people to remember. People are tending to connect to network services by specifying a name. These names are called hostnames, and each machine is assigned one. Groups of these hosts form a domain. The software that translates these names to network addresses is called the Domain Name System (DNS).

Before Server 2000 NetBIOS (Network Basic Input/output System) names were used to identify computers, services, and other resources on Windows-based machines. In the early days of Windows networks, LMHOSTS files were used for NetBIOS name resolution.

With Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003, hostnames are used instead of NetBIOS names. In a Windows Server 2003 domain, DNS is used to resolve hostnames and locate resources such as network services.

To support earlier version in Server 2003 both NetBIOS and DNS coexist. These naming systems are not related with each other so they require separate configuration to resolve their name to IP address.

Earlier versions of window still rely on NetBIOS names to communicate with other hosts on a network. A NetBIOS name is a 16-character name where the first 15 characters identify a unique host and the 16th character identifies a service or application running on the host such as the Workstation or Server service.

Differences between NetBIOS and DNS

DNS is a naming system that allows people to use names instead of IP address. Names are then translated automatically into IP addresses that computers use to locate each other and to communicate.

NetBIOS is an API (application programming interface) used in earlier version of windows that allow computers to connect and communicate.

NetBIOS use 16-character name while DNS used 255 character names.

NetBIOS use flat name while DNS use hierarchical name.

  • NetBIOS Name :- NetBIOS names are the name which you assign the computer during the installation. NetBIOS computer names are 15 characters, whereas NetBIOS service names are 16 characters. First 15 characters of the NetBIOS service name are the same as the host name. Last sixteenth character is used to identify the specific NetBIOS services.
  • Host name:- First part of FQDN. For example first part of the FQDN is system1. Host name is also known as computer name.
  • FQDN :- FQDN is a unique DNS name that indentifies the computer on the network. You can understand it as concatenations of the host name, primary DNS suffix, and a period.

Illustration of FQDN


Adding DNS

ADS use DNS to locate the network resources. DNS server would automatically be installed during the installation of ADS. During the installation of ADS we have option to skip DNS server. You could install DNS separately if you have skipped this during the ADS installation.

To install DNS separately click on start button and select control panel and click on Add/Remove program

add/remove programm

click on Add/remove windows components

add window component

Select Networking Services and Click on Details

networking features

Tick mark on Domain Name Services and Click on ok

tick on DNS

Configuration wizard may ask you to provide I386 folder location if you are installing DNS first time. I386 folder is located in installation disk of server 2003.


click on finish to complete the setup process.


Configuring DNS

ADS uses Domain Name System (DNS) to locate resources on a network. Without a reliable DNS infrastructure, domain controllers on your network will not be able to replicate with each other, your clients will not be able to log on to the network, and Microsoft Exchange Server will not be able to send e-mail. Essentially, if your DNS implementation is not stable, your Windows Server 2003 network will fail. This means you must have a thorough knowledge of DNS concepts and the Windows Server 2003 implementation of DNS if you are going to manage a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory environment.

We have installed DNS Server during the ADS configuration wizard. But if you have skipped the configuration of DNS Server at that moment see our previous article to install it from control panel.

To configure DNS server

Click on start button select administrator tools and click on DNS
path of dns server

If you do not see the DNS option in Administrator tools sub menu it means you haven't installed it. See our previous article to installed it.

In left pane expand the Server. Here you can see default forward and reverse zone which were configured during the ads configuration. Delete the defaults zone files.

delete zone data

Make sure you remove both forward and reverse lookup zone files before start configurations

Now we will create new forward and reverse zone file for DNS.

Right click on forward lookup zone and select new zone files
right click on forward zone

Click on next on welcome screen
welcome screen of dns

Select primary zone.
We need not to store zone in ADS so Remove check mark from Store the zone in Active Directory
 Select primary zone

Give a relative name for this zone file. For local network we suggest you to give your domain name for this zone file.

Our domain is so I set Zone name to
zone name

We are creating first zone So select Create a new file with this file name, do not change default name just click on next
zone file name

We are going to use this DNS server in local network so select Allow both nonsecure and secure dynamic updates. Don't use this option in public network.
select both secure and nonsecure update

On summary table just click on finish
dns server finish

Configure Reverse Look up zone

We have configured Forward look up zone. Now we need to create Reverse look up zone before we use it.

Do Right click on Reverse Lookup zones
Right click on Reverse look up

On welcome screen click on Next
welcome on reverse zone

Select primary zone.
We need not to store zone in ADS so Remove check mark from Store the zone in Active Directory
primary zone

Give the network ID from the IP address of server. Our server IP is so I will set here 192.168.0 [ network partition of IP]
give network id of server

Keep the default name for zone file and click on next
zone file name

Select Allow both nonsecure and secure dynamic updates. Don't use this option in public network.
allow both update

On summary table just click on finish

We have created both zone file for DNS server. Now we need to tell DNS server about our pointer for DNS server.

Expand Reverse Lookup Zones and select 192.168.0.x Subnet [ if you have used different ip for server then here you will find your IP address's subnet ].

Right click on it and select New pointer
new pointer

Now give the host ID from IP address. We will give 1 as we are using ip address.
new ptr

At this point we have configured both forward and reverse lookup zone. But all these effect will take place after restart of DNS. DNS service can be restart in two ways either by restarting the service or do a complete restart of server.

To restart the DNS service Right click on Server and select restart from all task
 restart the dns server

Configuration of DNS server can be verify by launching nslookup. To launch nslookup right click on Server and select nslookup
 select nslook up

If you see the default server name in output mean DNS server has been properly configured and functioning. But we haven’t restarted the server so you will not see the server name here.


To apply all these change Restart the server, After Restart verfiy it again and you will see default server name in nslookup


Additional testing of DNS can be done by pinging it by name. Go on any client computer and ping the DNS server. [ Before doing this set preferred dns ip to on client.]