XP client and 2k domain logon DNS problem

I have a Win2k domain, with a mix of XP and 2k workstations. A few XP Pro PC's take forever (2-5 mins) to logon to the network. They hang on "applying computer settings" for most of that time.

The good news is that I know what's causing it: for security reasons I'm not using a DNS server, instead relying on local hosts files to do the work. It appears however that some XP clients use DNS to resolve the PDC server name (dont ask me why only some do so and have the problem though!..)

Okay, so here's the mystery.. some of the slow log-on workstations could be fixed by adding the PDC to the lmhosts file. Others werent. I've checked the group policy, notably the admin templates>system>logon>Always wait for the network at computer startup. This is enabled, so isn't the problem.

Sooo... any ideas on what else could be going on? It's almost as if these remaining XP clients aren't reading there lmhosts file, however the only reference I can find to forcing them to do so is under the tcp/ip properties>advanced, where it is enabled to do so.

It appears to be a subset of a subset of XP Pro machines with the issue. Any thoughts appreciated.
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Hi dxve,
ew.  Yes, as soon as I read the problem I immediatley knew it was DNS. I would solve this by using secure DNS. You will save yourself headaches in the long run and it is more secure than what you are relying on currently.


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Sorry, but you will never, ever, get a W2k domain running without problems if you don't have DNS; AD relies too heavily on DNS.
Here's something to start with:

Setting Up the Domain Name System for Active Directory

HOW TO: Install Network Services Such as WINS and DNS in Windows 2000

Frequently Asked Questions About Windows 2000 DNS and Windows Server 2003 DNS

Best practices for DNS client settings in Windows 2000 Server and in Windows Server 2003

How to Verify the Creation of SRV Records for a Domain Controller

How Domain Controllers Are Located in Windows

How Domain Controllers Are Located in Windows XP

SRV Resource Records May Not Be Created on Domain Controller

HOW TO: Configure DNS for Internet Access in Windows Server 2003

HOW TO: Troubleshoot DNS Name Resolution on the Internet in Windows Server 2003
dxveAuthor Commented:

Thanks for the input! It will take me a while to sift through that lot.

I'm still fairly convinced the root of the problem is that some permutation of XP Pro & variable x causes XP to disregard its lmshosts file, as some of the workstations were fixed this route. If there is a trick to force XP to use its lmhosts i'm 75% sure it would fix assorted 2k "AD has too much reliance on DNS" issues. I'll keep researching, and appreciate the leads
dxveAuthor Commented:

Feel free to allocate the points as you see fit. I'm happy to do a 50/50 split or whatever. Neither response seems to answer the question directly, but both deserve something for the input. Perhaps there is no correct answer other than "AD needs DNS to work, for reasons which are a complete mystery"
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