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Child domains not finding global catalog

Last year I created a Windows 2000 forest containing a root domain and three child domains. Everything worked fine until about five months ago when none of the child domains could find the Global Catalog (they could before). I don't know what changed but to "resolve" the problem I opened the Active Directory Sites and Services Console from the Administrative Tools of each child domain, expanded the Sites -> Default-First-Site-Name -> Servers and then right clicked on the NTDS Settings and checked the box that says Global Catalog.

Although this allowed the child domains to find the GC did it really resolve my problem or just work around it? This may be related to a more serious problem I'll describe in another question.

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Check on the Flexible Single Master Operations roles (FSMO). If the roles got switched around it could cause a problem with replication. Specifically the Infrastructure Master role should not be a Global Catalog Server. If it is, the replication can fool itself into believing that all of the child domain servers are up to date, when they are not. Keep in mind that you will have multiple Infrastructure Masters. Each domain/child domain will have its own. Unless ALL servers are Global Catalog servers -- you will need to make sure the ones running the Infrastructure Master are not be GC's. You may use the DSA to find the information or the NTDSUTIL.exe (my preference):

Open a command prompt and type Ntdsutil (this requires that the Windows Support Tools have been installed from the CD). You get a NTDSUTIL: prompt. Now type…
Ntsdutil: roles
fsmo maintenance: connections
server connections: connect to server [servername of non-PDC emulator system] 
Connected to [servername] using credentials of locally logged on user.
server connections: quit
fsmo maintenance: Select operation target
select operation target: List roles for connected server
The output will be similar to this:
Server "myserver" knows about 5 roles
Schema - CN=NTDS Settings,CN=MYSERVER2,CN=Servers,CN=Default-First-Site-Name,CN=
Sites,CN=Configuration,DC=mydomain,DC=com
Domain - CN=NTDS Settings,CN=MYSERVER2,CN=Servers,CN=Default-First-Site-Name,CN=
Sites,CN=Configuration,DC=mydomain,DC=com
PDC - CN=NTDS Settings,CN=MYSERVER,CN=Servers,CN=Default-First-Site-Name,CN=Site
s,CN=Configuration,DC=mydomain,DC=com
RID - CN=NTDS Settings,CN=MYSERVER2,CN=Servers,CN=Default-First-Site-Name,CN=Sit
es,CN=Configuration,DC=mydomain,DC=com
Infrastructure - CN=NTDS Settings,CN=MYSERVER,CN=Servers,CN=Default-First-Site-N
ame,CN=Sites,CN=Configuration,DC=mydomain,DC=com
Paul Hinsberg

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This was first published in December 2004

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