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Domain Controllers in Windows 2003 Server

This is something I should have gotten more clarity on some time ago.  In a Windows 2000 Server Active Directory there was always a Primary Domain Controller (PDC).  You could/should have Secondary/Tertiary/... Domain Controllers (DCs) to provide fail-over.  I remember hearing how Windows 2003 Server changed things so that there is no PDC, there are just DCs - none of which is considered or technically referred to as the PDC.

First, is my general notion about DCs and the lack of PDC's in Windows 2003 Server even remotely correct?  If not, I will appreciate any guidance.

Second, if it is true that there is no PDC in a Windows Server 2003 AD, any info, urls, articles that can explain the differences between Domain Controllers in Windows Server 2000 vs. 2003 ADs will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
3 Solutions

Since Windows 2000 introduced us to AD their has been no true PDC, BDC roles. There is a PDC emulator FSMO role that runs on a single DC within a domain but this is only to provide backward compatibility to client OS that require access to a PDC.

All DC's are all considered equal in the domain however some hold the special FSMO forest and domain roles i.e.
Schema master
Domain naming master
Infrastructure master
RID master
PDC emulator




I hope this provides some help as a starting point.

and, in server 2003, the concept remains the same.

The main purposes for a PDC emulator are:

1. For NT 4.0 BDCs
2. For urgent replication, like account locouts or password changes

additionally, othere FSMO roles are held on a singled DC, due to the nature of the role or service and how it would interact with Multi-Master replication.

Good Luck,
correct - no BDC's....your old concept of PDC is pretty much the machine that holds your Schema and Domain Naming Master roles and is usually the first DC in your domain, commonly known as a root DC....

2000 and 2003 AD are similar.....2003 has increased security and replication functionality, basic concepts are exactly the same
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