Help with Windows DNS basics

After years of working with Windows and its DNS server, I still am confused on some DNS basics.  I realize that DNS basically translates computer names to IP addresses buy I don't understand fully understand how each DNS record is updated, or deleted, or what "zones" are.

My immediate question is, what should I be doing to keep up with the DNS records as far as maintenance goes?  As I look through the DNS records, there are some very old records listed.  I occasionally get problems when I try to VNC a machine I think is still out there, and I end up VNC'ing someone elses machine who has taken over the IP address of the old system.  This is really just poor management on my part, but if I see old DNS records in the list, Should I be manually deleting them?  Is there a way for the server to purge old records automatically?  When computers get re-formated and re-named, or just taken off-line permanently, should I be going to the DNS server and getting rid of these records?

My secondary question would be, does anyone know of a good online tutorial that I could watch/listen too that explains Windows DNS server basics?  Specifically, what a network admin should be doing for regular maintenance and hopefully explanations on what the reverse and forward lookup zones mean?  There are also a bunch of folders under the DNS server that are titled _sites, _tcp, _udp, _msdcs, etc.  I am not sure what those are all about.  There are options for "Scavenge Stale Resource Records" and "Set Aging/Scavenging for All Zones..", so maybe this is where I would tell it to purge old DNS records?

Thanks.
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jbobstAsked:
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TomeryosConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Hi,

I will try to address some of the questions that you have asked.
To start with, there is no need to manually delete records. In windows dns server you can configure scvaging and ageing (excuse me for i am not able to show you where it is, someplace in the options)
This basically makes sure that stale records don't stay too long in the database.
Forward lookup zone gets names and translates them to ip address and reverse lookup zones do just the opposite, they get ip addresses and return the name associated with that ip.
more information can be found at
http://www.webmonkey.com/webmonkey/03/11/index2a_page2.html?tw=backend
http://www.phptr.com/articles/article.asp?p=21116&seqNum=3&rl=1
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Lee W, MVPConnect With a Mentor Technology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You might want to have a look at my DNS links page - I think it can answer most of your questions.

http://www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/dns.asp
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Jay_Jay70Connect With a Mentor Commented:
jbobst,

to answer one, you need to look at enabling scavenging on your zones....

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000serv/reskit/cnet/cncf_imp_kckc.mspx?mfr=true

for Q2 and understanding, Lee has a great set of links

Regards,

James
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jbobstAuthor Commented:
Tomeryos,
Your link to the phptr.com site does a good job trying to explain scavenging.  I have read it a couple time, but I still am a little fuzzy on the explanations.  I turned on my scavenging last night before I left the office, but all the old A records are still listed in dns this morning.  I left all the default settings in place, and I even manually told it to start scavaging, but all the records are still there.  So, either I am missing something, or maybe the records require the 7 days of existence (once scavenging has been enabled) before they will be automatically deleted?  I guess we'll find that out next week.

Microsoft seems to have made this extra complicated.  For example, it would seem to me that once a computer registers itself with DNS and the record is created, there should simply be a time interval that needs to be set for it's lifespan.  If that computer never does a refresh or update (during a new IP address request, or simple daily login process, etc), then the record should be deleted after the expiration of the lifespan time frame.  Instead, Microsoft make these no-refresh and refresh intervals...which have the same 7 day value by default.  I have read the explanations of these settings, but they still aren't clear to me.  Are they basically the same as the lifespan of the dns A records?

As I mentioned before, I have also manually requested the server to scavenge stale records twice now.  After refreshing the server, all the old records are still there.  Some records are at least two years old and that seems pretty stale to me.

Thanks.
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jbobstAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay in closing this questions, thanks for the help!
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