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Authenticating Active Directory domain controllers

If I promote our Win 2003 to be a domain controller in our Win 2000 network, what happens if it fails? Can users still log onto the network using the Win 2000 controllers? What are the implications?

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Active Directory-aware clients (Windows 2000 and later) can authenticate against any Active Directory domain controller so long as your organization's DNS records are up-to-date. If the 2003 server holds the PDC Emulator FSMO role, your down-level clients (NT4 and Win9x) will have issues authenticating until the PDC Emulator returns to service. If the PDCe will be offline for a significant amount of time, you should seize the role to another domain controller and configure a new authoritative time-source for the domain.

This was first published in December 2006

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