Windows 2012 R2 Essentials Anywhere Access setup cant get past domain name identification

Allen Morris-Yates
Allen Morris-Yates used Ask the Experts™
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I have installed a new instance (not an update from SBS 2011 or anything of that nature) of Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials in a virtual machine running under 2012 R2 Hyper-V - everything up to this point is working fine.  I am now attempting to setup Anywhere Access.  When the wizard reaches the step where it asks "Do you own a domain name?" I select the option "I want to use a domain name I already own" and enter that (its a .com.au domain).  The wizard goes off "Checking your domain name", then responds with the message that "The list of domain services available for your server cannot be found. Make sure your server is connected to the internet. If this problem continues, wait a few minutes then try again."  The server is definitely connected to the internet as it has successfully downloaded and installed updates.  And in any case, I don't understand why it should need domain services as the domain name is already owned - does it perhaps think that I must have it registered with an MS approved domain registrar?  It appears that the wizard is missing an alternative step.  Is the problem due to my having installed Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials rather than the more capable Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard then enabling the Essentials role?  I have searched TechNet and the various MS blogs but can't find anything that helps.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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What that wizard is assuming is that your domain controller is publicly available from the internet and has a unique ip address.  The wizard then searches the web to find that server and I'll bet it can't.

From this: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/dn486837.aspx

To join Windows Server Essentials to a workgroup or domain

1.After you complete the installation of Windows Server Essentials on your second server, close the Configure Windows Server Essentials Wizard.
2.In the Search box, type System Settings, and in the search results, click View advanced system settings.
3.In System Properties, click the Computer Name tab.
4.In Computer Name, in the Domain section, click Change.
5.In Computer Name/Domain Changes, in the Member section, choose if you want to join the server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials to a Workgroup or to a Domain.
To add the server to a workgroup, type workgroup, and then click OK.
To join this server to an existing Active Directory domain, type the name of the domain, and then click OK.
6.Restart the server to apply the changes.
DrDave242Principal Support Engineer

Commented:
Check C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Server\Logs\Dashboard.log. It may take a little while to dig through this file, but you may find something relevant.

Try searching that file for the string "Unable to connect to the Internet". If that doesn't reveal anything, feel free to post the log here, unless it's simply gigantic.

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the assistance - very much appreciated.  Whilst the detailed solution wasn't the answer, it did point me in the right direction, which was to examine the DNS entries being used by the server.  Turns out I had left the primary DNS pointing to an external source, one I had been using to enable internet access whilst downloading the OS image prior to setup.  As Davis noted, the wizard was expecting the domain to be resolvable when it fact it couldn't be by that external source.  Once I had removed the rogue DNS entry everything went smoothly.

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