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Client PCs on NT two server LAN can't find PDC after restart or shutdown

I manage a 34 station NT 4.0 LAN. I have two servers, the main Primary Domain Controller (PDC) and a member server that's multihomed and acts as my Internet gateway and proxy server. I am using static IPs and I am not using Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS). Many of my client PCs are having sporadic difficulty finding the Domain controller after a restart or a shutdown. The Error shows up as a dialog stating that 'A Domain Server cannot be found you will be logged in locally.' NETLOGON Error 5719 usually accompanies this problem. Currently I resolve this by simply rebooting until I achieve a successful logon. What causes this phenomenon and is there a way to prevent it from happening?

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I'm assuming you use a flat IP address space with no interior routing. Without WINS, each of your machines must broadcast to find Windows resources and to resolve the NetBIOS names of the servers hosting those resources into IP addresses. The timeouts involved with those broadcasts are fairly long but not indefinite. You can easily saturate a network with 30 or more clients broadcasting for all their resources.

I would advise that you install WINS on your PDC (not the multihomed member server) and configure your clients to point at this WINS server. Yes, I know that's a pain because you use static mappings, but give it a try just to see.

You might have a problem with the PDC. The server must respond fairly quickly to logon requests. Do you have any suspicious Event Log entries from NETLOGON or any server services?

Don't rule out infrastructure problems. Do you use a shared media hub or a switch for your clients? Do you experience other connectivity problems? If none of this works, write back with the results of your testing.

This was first published in February 2001

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