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Configuring Windows XP Professional as a DNS Client


By Jason Zandri

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Windows 2000 Domain Name System (DNS) servers maintain a distributed database used to translate computer names to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses on Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) networks which includes the internet. 

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - Being able to install DNS is not a requirement for the 70-270 exam. Understanding the functionality of DNS and how it affects Windows XP Professional clients in workgroups and within domains is.

In the next few weeks in my Learn Active Directory in 15 Minutes a Week series of articles I will cover DNS in more depth, including a more in depth view of installing DNS.


The Microsoft Domain Name System (DNS) is the name resolution service that resolves Uniform Resource Locator names (URLs) and other DNS names into their “true” dotted decimal format. http://www.zandri.net translates into a specific Internet Protocol (IP) address and it is that address resolution that allows you to reach the server destination you are looking for.

For this reason you are going to need to be sure that TCP/IP is installed on the client system you wish to configure as a DNS client.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - There are other methods available for configuring TCP/IP name resolution on Windows XP Professional clients. Most of these will not work on the internet or on networks for Active Directory purposes. Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) can perform NetBIOS-to-IP name resolution and Hosts and Lmhosts files can be manually configured to provide host-to-IP and NetBIOS-to-IP name resolution. It is also possible (but usually not desirable) to use b-node broadcasts to perform NetBIOS name resolution within the local subnet.

To configure your Windows XP Professional system as a DNS client you need to either go to the Control Panel and click Network And Internet Connections or go to My Network Places on the start menu, right click it and choose Properties.



In the Network Connections window you would right click your Local Area Connection (which is the default location to set the local system as a DNS client) and choose Properties.

On the property page for the Local Area Connection you would highlight the TCP/IP protocol on the general tab and select the Properties button.



The image below shows a client configured to use the DHCP (as the Obtain an IP address automatically radio button is set) or APIPA service (in the event the DHCP server is unavailable). This is also the default selection for the TCP/IP properties at operating system installation and/or protocol installation when the Typical Settings radio button is selected.

The client can be configured to use a static (fixed) or dynamic IP address. In either case, configuring the system as a DNS client is exactly the same.



[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - Windows XP Professional, like Windows 98 and Windows 2000, uses Automatic Private IP Addressing which will provide DHCP clients an IP address and limited network connectivity (usually the same subnet only) in the event a DHCP server is unavailable. The Automatic Private IP Addressing feature uses the reserved 169.254.0.0 through 169.254.255.255 IP address range and is enabled by default, but it can be disabled by configuring the settings on the client to use an alternate configuration if a DHCP server cannot be located.

When you select the Obtain DNS Server Address Automatically option, your network's Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server will provide the IP address of a DNS server to the client.

When you elect to choose Use The Following DNS Server Addresses, you will manually list the IP address of the Preferred DNS Server and the optional Alternate DNS Server address that you want the client to use.

You can also click on the Advanced button and enter these values as well as some other settings.



You can set the client's DNS server addresses in the upper box and arrange them in order of use from top to bottom (the first two entries of which will be any settings you provided on the main TCP/IP page) by entering them with the Add button and using the arrows on the right side to change their order.

There are also other sections on this property page where more settings can be configured. The Append Primary And Connection Specific DNS Suffixes option is selected by default and this setting tells the DNS resolver to append the client name to the primary domain name, as well as the domain name defined in the DNS Domain Name field. The resolver then searches for the Fully Qualified Domain Name. If the search for the Fully Qualified Domain Name fails, the DNS resolver will use the entry (if any) supplied in the DNS Suffix For This Connection text box.

If the DHCP server has been enabled to configure this connection and you do not specify a DNS suffix, the connection is assigned by the DHCP server. If you specify a DNS suffix, it is used instead.

The Append Parent Suffixes Of The Primary DNS Suffix check box is enabled by default and this configuration causes the DNS resolver to drop the leftmost portion of the primary DNS suffix and attempt to use the resulting domain name. If this fails, it continues dropping the next leftmost name and repeating this process until only two names such as 2000Trainers and COM remain. Rather than do this, you might opt to set the Append These DNS Suffixes (In Order) radio button which will allow you to specify a list of domains for the DNS resolver to try. The DNS resolver will attempt each one of these suffixes, one at a time and in the order you specified in the text box. Any attempts are limited to the domains that you have listed in here.

You can also select the Register This Connection's Addresses In DNS check box which will cause the client itself to attempt to dynamically register the IP addresses via DNS with its full computer name as shown on the Computer Name tab of the System properties page.

The last available option to set from this property page is the Use This Connection's DNS Suffix In DNS Registration check box which uses DNS dynamic updates to register the IP addresses and the connection-specific domain name. The connection-specific name is the computer name, (the first label of the full computer name specified in the Computer Name tab), and the DNS suffix of this connection. If the Register This Connection's Addresses In DNS check box is selected, this registration enabled here is in addition to the DNS registration of the full computer name.

I want to write solid technical articles that appeal to a large range of readers and skill levels and I can only be sure of that through your feedback. Until next time, best of luck in your studies and remember,

I remember how my mother taught me RELIGION - "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

Jason Zandri

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