Server 2012 DNS without Active Directory


I have a client who currently has an SBS server. This is obviously a domain controller, but since the installation of that server, the client has replaced all user PCs with non domain joined workstations. Shares on the existing server are accessed by username and password when clicking a share, and credentials are saved.

I am installing a new 2012 R2 server, and the client wishes to retain non domain joined clients. (Don't ask me why, but he is insistent on that.)

I supplied the new server, and created local users and groups and shared the documents on the new server and all was going well.

At this point the old server was still providing DHCP and DNS services to the clients.

Finally I wanted the new server to take over the DHCP and DNS roles.

I installed both of these roles, and disabled the two services on the old server.

I configured a zone called "abc.local" on the new server to match the previous AD domain name. I created an A record (abcserver) in this zone for the new server. I configured DHCP to allocate addresses, giving the new server as DNS, and "abc.local" as the DNS suffix.

I went to one existing PC, did ipconfig /release and ipconfig /renew and also rebooted the PC.

After this I could ping abcserver without any problems, the correct address was resolved and the pings succeeded. However, if I entered \\abcserver into the run box, I could not see the shares on the server.

How do I fix this? Do I need to setup AD, even if no other devices will join the domain, or is there a way to get DNS / filesharing working correctly without AD?

If I do need to upgrade to AD, can I migrate the existing local users or do I need to create them all again?

Thanks for your help.

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
In my opinion, you should never have a server in a workgroup environment.  You CANNOT migrate the local users to domain users - if you setup a domain now or ANY TIME in the future, you will have to recreate the users.  If you replace the server in the future, you will have to recreate the users.  If you had set this up in the existing domain as a second DC, you wouldn't have to recreate the users.

I don't know the client's reasons for not using a domain nor do I know your knowledge of the pros and cons so I cannot say what to say with the client to convince him otherwise or know what you've tried to tell him.  

You said the new server is serving DNS?  For itself?  Did you create DNS entries for the new server?  If this had been setup in AD, NETLOGON would have created them and re-registered them every time it rebooted.
Are you sure you do not have ip conflict?
how does \\ip react ?
Also, the \\abcserver is likely to use IPV6 if it's available on both...
rpmAuthor Commented:
I am certain there is no IP conflict.

I didn't try \\ip I'm afraid, I will try that when onsite tomorrow.
Creating Active Directory Users from a Text File

If your organization has a need to mass-create AD user accounts, watch this video to see how its done without the need for scripting or other unnecessary complexities.

if \\ip is not working, then you may have a firewall issue on the server.
rpmAuthor Commented:
It works fine as long as DNS and DHCP are handled by the old server.
Ben HartCommented:
If you run \\abcserver does the explorer window open for the server and just not display the shares or does it error out?
rpmAuthor Commented:
It gives an error. I can't remember the exact error, but it is along the lines of the server name not being resolved, despite pings to the server name working.
Other usual culprit are cached credential, if there are any, remove them.
rpmAuthor Commented:
But the cached credentials are correct! Aren't they?
I know in windows 7, 8 and 2012 you have network discovery which allows u to view other devices on the network. This may have nothing to do with your issue but is the enabled on the server.
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