Windows Tips &amp Tricks UPDATE, July 19, 2004, —brought to you by the Windows &amp .NET Magazine Network and the Windows 2000 FAQ site
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FAQs

  • Q. How does changing a domain from mixed to native mode affect how I can view a domain local group?
  • Q. What are the Relative Identifiers (RIDs) of a domain's built-in accounts?
  • Q. Can I change the Relative Identifier (RID) of a built-in object?
  • Q. How can I check the status of the Relative Identifier (RID) pool on a domain controller (DC)?
  • Q. How can I use the name domain.com for a domain when that name is hosted on a DNS server that doesn't support service records?

Commentary
by John Savill, FAQ Editor, jsavill@winnetmag.com

This week, I tell you how changing a domain from mixed to native mode affects how you can view a domain local group and explain the Relative Identifiers (RIDs) of a domain's built-in accounts and whether you can change the RID of a built-in object. I also tell you how to check the status of the RID pool on a domain controller (DC) and discuss how to use the name domain.com for a domain when the DNS server that hosts that name doesn't support service records.


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FAQs

Q. How does changing a domain from mixed to native mode affect how I can view a domain local group?

A. In a mixed-mode domain, you can view domain local groups only on domain controllers (DCs)--including Active Directory (AD) DCs and Windows NT Server 4.0 BDCs. After you switch to native mode, you can view domain local groups on all domain members.

Q. What are the Relative Identifiers (RIDs) of a domain's built-in accounts?

A. Every object in a domain has a SID, which consists of the domain's SID and a RID. For built-in objects, such as built-in accounts, these RIDs are hard-coded. The table at http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/misc/table071904.htm lists the built-in objects, their RIDs, and the object type. The fact that RIDs are hard-coded explains why merely renaming, say, the Domain Administrator object doesn't often thwart an intruder, who can simply locate the account by using the RID 500. However, you can create a honeypot by renaming the Domain Administrator account and creating a new account called Domain Administrator that has no permissions. You can use the bogus Domain Administrator account to fool hackers into attacking it, then log the attacks and delay any real damage to the bona fide Domain Administrator account.

Q. Can I change the Relative Identifier (RID) of a built-in object?

A. The RID values are hard-coded in the Windows OS code through header files and shouldn't be changed. Even if you did manage to change a RID, much of the internal OS code refers to the built-in objects by their RIDs instead of their names. Thus, changing the RIDs could cause a lot of problems for your Windows systems.

Q. How can I check the status of the Relative Identifier (RID) pool on a domain controller (DC)?

A. Windows gives every DC a pool of RIDs and adds to the pool as necessary in batches of 500. To check the range of RIDs in a current pool, run the command

dcdiag /v /test:ridmanager

where /v specifies verbose mode and /test:ridmanager tells the command to run only the RID Manager test and not the other default tests.

The command displays the next RID that will be allocated to an object created on the DC and the range of currently allocated RIDs, as in the following sample output:

Testing server: Gotham\VPC2003DC1MN
Test omitted by user request: Replications
Test omitted by user request: Topology
Test omitted by user request: CutoffServers
Test omitted by user request: NCSecDesc
Test omitted by user request: NetLogons
Test omitted by user request: Advertising
Test omitted by user request: KnowsOfRoleHolders
Starting test: RidManager
    * Available RID Pool for the Domain is 2608 to 1073741823
    * omega.savilltech.com is the RID Master
    * DsBind with RID Master was successful
    * rIDAllocationPool is 2108 to 2607
    * rIDPreviousAllocationPool is 2108 to 2607
    * rIDNextRID: 2156
        ......................... VPC2003DC1MN passed test RidManager

In this example, the range of RIDs that can be allocated is from 2108 to 2607, and the next RID that will be allocated is 2156, which means that the pool contains 451 unallocated RIDs (2607-2156).

Notice that in this sample output, rIDAllocationPool and rIDPreviousAllocationPool are the same. That won't always be the case, however. rIDPreviousAllocationPool is the pool that RIDs are currently being taken from for object SID allocation. When more than a specified percentage of RIDs in this pool have been allocated (50 percent for Windows 2000 Service Pack 4--SP4--and later), the OS asks the DC that holds the RID Flexible Single-Master Operation (FSMO) role for another batch of RIDs to add to rIDAllocationPool. When rIDPreviousAllocationPool is totally depleted, the OS copies the RIDs from rIDAllocationPool into rIDPreviousAllocationPool and starts using the copied RIDs as needed. This process ensures that a temporary interruption in communication with the RID FSMO DC doesn't prevent DCs from creating new objects because their RID pools are exhausted.

Q. How can I use the name domain.com for a domain when that name is hosted on a DNS server that doesn't support service records?

A. Ideally, you'd migrate the DNS zone to a new Windows-based DNS server. If that isn't possible, don't use domain.com for your Active Directory (AD) domain. Instead, use either ads.domain.com or, if ads.domain.com isn't practical, domain.net.

There's no reason to use domain.com. However, if you must use it and can't move the domain to another DNS server, you can delegate the four core subdomains that AD uses to a Windows DNS server. These subdomains are

  • _msdcs.domain.com
  • _sites.domain.com
  • _tcp.domain.com
  • _udp.domain.com

You'd create subdomains as new zones on your Windows DNS server and enable dynamic update. These zones would then contain all the service records that AD needs. However, you'd still need to manually add a host (A) record in the main DNS zone for domain.com for each domain controller's (DC's) IP address (e.g., domain.com IN A 128.10.20.12) and one host record per DC. Adding these records is easy, although you must remember to update the A record if your IP addressing changes.

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