Problems with drive mapping in Windows 2000 server

Q:  We have a Windows 2000 server running Active Directory and a router where all workstations connect directly for Internet access. We have just replaced three Windows 98 workstations (which worked perfectly) with three XP workstations, which log on to a domain. 

Our problem is that if we put the DNS of the server into the XP workstations, we can have mapped drives but no Internet access. If we then put the DNS of the ISP into the XP workstations, then we have Internet access, but although we can map drives to start with the XP machines will not map those drives on a re-boot. Do you have any ideas?

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A: The DNS server on the Windows 2003 machine is not forwarding DNS requests out to the Internet. This is likely because the system believes that it is a root server. When a DNS server has a zone that is only a dot literally ".", then it believes it is the end-all-be-all for DNS. For this reason, it will not forward DNS requests out to the real Internet. 

To resolve the problem open the DNS Manager on the Windows 2000 server and see if a zone call "." is present. If it is, delete it! Then the system should start using the root hints and sending requests out to the Internet hosts for resolution.

This was first published in August 2005

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