Active Directory Quick Start Guide

The first and most important step in installing Windows 2000 Active Directory is properly planning your DNS implementation. AD cannot exist without DNS, so this is well worth paying attention to. Unfortunately, in their quest for simplicity, Microsoft decided that DNS would be installed automatically as part of the Active Directory installation process if you didn’t explicitly configure it in advance. As such, my suggestion is that you always configure DNS manually prior to even considering Active Directory. If you don’t, you will probably end up with a DNS implementation that doesn’t meet your needs.At this point, I am going to assume that you have Windows 2000 Server installed. The first step towards a proper AD implementation will involve installing and configuring DNS. If you haven’t done so already, add the DNS service to your server from the Windows Components option in Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel.

DNS Setup for Active Directory

After adding DNS, the next step is configuring a new DNS zone. The name of the zone is important, and I generally suggest using a “private” name for Active Directory, such as company.local instead of a public name that your company may have already registered, such as This will help to ensure that both your internal and external hostnames resolve correctly once all is said and done. In this case, create a new zone called company.local using the DNS administrative tool. This is accomplished by right clicking on Forward Lookup Zones and choosing New Zone.

The wizard that walks you through the process is fairly straightforward, but be sure to choose to create a standard primary lookup zone.

Once the zone has been created, the next step is to ensure that your server is pointing at itself for DNS name resolution. Go into the server’s TCP/IP properties and add the IP address of this server as the DNS server address. This step is critical, so be sure not to skip it.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.