Should a BDC take over automatically when a PDC goes down?

I have 2 domain controllers running Windows 2003, one is set as the PDC and the other is a BDC.  The PDC went down and I expected the BDC to take over domain responsibilities automatically but it appeared not to as users could not logon.

Can someone guide me to what configuration options I should check to ensure the DCs are setup correctly?
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Lee W, MVPConnect With a Mentor Technology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
First, there is no such thing as a BDC and a PDC in Windows Server 2003.  

You have 5 FSMO master roles that could be put on any DC at any time (manually).  You also need a global catalog server (GC) running.  which is likely your problem - make sure the other DC is a global catalog server.
Toni UranjekConnect With a Mentor Consultant/TrainerCommented:
There is no BDC in Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 domain. All DC are "equal" because Active Driectory uses multi-master replication model. First DC is usually FSMO holder and GC. When First DC goes down, there are some limitations how your Active Directory works, but users should be able to log on if your DNS is correctly configured. You should use AD integrated zones to replicate DNS data between DC and configure your clients to query multiple DNS servers. In your case configure all clients to have "PDC" as preferred DNS server and "BDC" as alternate DNS server. If you have single domain in your forest, all DC should be configured as GC. If you need more information let me know...


NJComputerNetworksConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You also need to make sure that DNS is running on both DC's...  This is needed so that your clients can "talk" to the domain properly.  If you are using DHCP, you will also want to add the DHCP server on the second DC...but don't overlap the scope range... (split them instead)
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KCTSConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Firstly let me repeat what had been said about PDCs and BDCs. These went out with NT4.

If you want two DCs for redundancy purposes then:-
Make sure that the second DC is configured as a Global Catalogue Server and Also has DNS and (if it is being used) DHCP installed. If DHCP is set up them you must make sure both DHCP Servers are set up with appropriate scopes and not giving duplicate addresses.

You also need to make sure that clients have the address of one DC as the Preferred DNS Server and the other as the Alternate DNS Server then they will query the second DNS Server automatically if the first one is off-line.

Once you have done this is the first server goes down then you will need to move the FSMO roles as the first DC to be created holds all of these by default. While the domain can continue to function short-term without these roles, you will need to move them for all put very temporary outages.

If you are planning a shutdown of the first DC then you should transfer the FSMO roles to the other DC before shutdown. The transfer is a clean option to move the roles.

If the first DC goes down unexpectedly should you seize the roles as this is an 'unclean' process which may result in some data loss.

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Sorry my penultimate paragraph should have said
If the first DC goes down unexpectedly you should seize the roles as this is an 'unclean' process which may result in some data loss.
Toni UranjekConsultant/TrainerCommented:
Schema master and RID master should not be seized if there is any chance of old FSMO coming back online in reasonable period of time. Infrastructure master and Domain Naming master don't perform any functions in single domain forest, so I wouldn't seize them. In this case only PDC emulator should be seized. You should rather wait for FDC to come back online, than seize other roles. FSMO roles have nothing to do with users having trouble to log on. Asker is probably having problems with incorrect DNS configuration.
prodriveitAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys you have given me lots of think about and some direction.  I'll have a look at the DNS and report back.
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