Resolve PC Names Over VPN

Posted on 2009-04-30
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have inherited a network created by another IT person who can no longer be reached and I don't want to make major changes to the setup because within the next year it will all be ripped out so I am trying not to disturb and create a domino effect. The setup is 2 locations connected by VPN (SonicWall TZ170). Location 1 is a windows 2003 standard server running as a workgroup machine (hosts applications for the practice) with 6 desktops pcs all in the workgroup. Location 2 is considered the remote and has a windows 2003 standard server running as a domain controller with 5 desktop pcs, with the desktops being part of the workgroup back in location 1 although at one time were all entered into the domain. The DNS on the domain controller has froward and reverse look up zones entered (both the domain and workgroup) and look ups on the subnets. Just the other day we had to do a reload of the OS and all the apps on a desktop in the remote location and now I cannot find the server in the main location by pc name. I can find it by TCP/IP but not by name. I entered it as a member of the domain, but still no luck. All the pcs including this one get their dhcp properties from the local server. I need name resolution for the practice management software to speak back to the server in the main location. Its a funky situation and certainly not how I would have set it up myself, but again I am just trying to patch this issue for the time being.
Question by:drodrigues40
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    The PCs should have their DNS pointing to the DC or the local server if it's part of the same domain and hosts DNS.  They need to be asking the DC for computer names.

    On your DHCP controller in loc1, set up Primary DNS as the DC and release/renew.  It should resolve just fine without any major changes.
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    For a quick work around fix you could edit your local host file of the PC in question
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    I agree with Ubertam, but if you end up changing the DNS settings on the PC, you may need to register the PC with the DNS/DC server in the main site.

    ipconfig /flushdns
    ipconfig /registerdns

    Linux/Mac OS X:
    run the networking restart script.  Debian Linux distros do this with:
    /etc/init.d/networking restart

    Author Comment

    By edit the local host you mean manually point the DNS servers on the network card to the direct DNS server I am trying to access.
    LVL 13

    Assisted Solution

    No. Here is an article that explains the DNS reoslution process:

    I was talking about your local hosts file.
    Go to: C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc
    Open the Host file in Notepad and add your resources at the bottom. This works as a workaround to DNS issues. The downside is if the resource updates its IP then the resource will be unavailable until the hosts file is updated again.

    Hope this helps.
    LVL 38

    Assisted Solution

    Never configure the HOST file in a site that has a DNS server. It will mess with the DNS server.

    If you can ping by IP, that means your VPN connection is working. You might be able to also ping by fully qualified domain name, or do an NSLOOKUP from one site to the other. If so, DNS is working. Now what I think you missing is a netbios connection between the two sites.

    The problem with netbios broadcasts is netbios is not routeable. To allow it through a VPN tunnel, or across NAT, you have a wins connection, a special router that relays the netbios over SMB, or a LMHOST connection between the two site master browsers. So, you want to edit the LMHOST file, not the HOST file.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Try setting the primary DNS server on one of the remote computers to that of your DC.  I have a similar setup:

    Tacoma: DC - subnet
    Seattle: no server - subnet
    Router-to-router IPSec VPN configured
    Seattle can ping (DC) just fine.
    Set DNS server on all Seattle PCs (through local DHCP server) to
    Everything works dandy.  Didn't have to mess with NetBIOS (Win98 technology) or WINS or HOSTS file.  We have a 3Mbps up and down link in both sites, but even with a 1.5, DNS resolution isn't noticeably slower than any other connection.

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