Windows : 10 things to know and practice to improve confidence

My main intention of this post is to prepare guys who are willing to attend job interviews real soon, specially as Windows Administrators. Just want to help them with what are major areas that needs extra concentration.

1. New features in Windows 2008
64bit OS


Roles Based Administration

Active Directory comes as service

Read Only Domain Controller

IP v6

UAC (User access control) based administration

MMC 3.0

2. Active Directory Files
There are few files associated with Active Directory, which  are mandatory for AD operations

NTDS.DIT   - Main database file for active directory, which stores every piece of information. 

EDB.LOG   - All the AD transactions will be first written to this file and later they will be committed to NTDS.DIT during off peak hours.

RES1.LOG  - Its a 10MB file created when we run dcpromo and used as reserved space for AD transactions when drive is filled up

RES2.LOG - Its another 10MB file created when we run dcpromo and used as reserved space for AD transactions when drive is filled up

EDB.CHK  - This file maintains integrity of AD transactions during abnormal shutdown like power failures or BSOD, AD checks EDB.CHK file for un committed transactions after power up and commits them to the NTDS.DIT
TEMP.EDB – Stores information about in progress transactions

3. Active Directory Replication

Replication is a technology which ensures all the domains and domain controllers are in sync with each other in multi domain/site environment

Replication will be initiated automatically at specified schedule and runs in specified intervals

KCC (Knowledge Consistency Checker) handles inter site(different sites) replication where as ISTG handles intra site (same site) replication

Replication of the objects happens based on their USN number, if one object needs to be replicated from primary to secondary where a change of object detected this USN number will be updated after the change, when replication initiated it compares the USN of the object on primary and secondary, then syncs the object to latest change.

4. Active Directory Partitions
There are three partitions present in AD

Schema Partition

Contains information about forest wide schema and will be replicated to all domains in the forest

Configuration Partition

Contains information about active directory configuration and will be replicated to all domains in the forest

Domain Partition

Contains information about the specific domain and will be replicated to domain controllers in that domain.

5. Active Directory Schema
Active Directory Schema is a combination of objects and their attributes. For example user account is an object and first name, last name, address etc are the attributes belongs to that object. So schema can be defined as each and every object in the forest and their attributes.

6. Active Directory Up gradation from 2003 to 2008
Just remember the prerequisites to do this tasks, that makes more of our work easy.

1. Take a backup of active directory using ntbackup (system state)

2. Transfer the FSMO roles to secondary domain controller if you have one.

3. Keep your windows 2008 CD handy

4. Make a note of hardware architecture on 2003 machine, if its 64bit you can directly proceed to next steps, other wise proceed to 7

5. Run adprep /forestprep, adprep /domainprep and adprep /gpoprep in sequential order to extend 2003 schema to support 2008 architecture. Run these commands on windows 2003 machine from windows 2008 CD.

6. Once the schema is extended upgrade the OS using the CD.

7. If windows 2003 machine is 32bit, build a new windows 2008 machine and promote it as secondary domain controller. Transfer all FSMO roles from windows 2003 to windows 2008 and raise the forest and domain functional levels to windows 2008 native.

8. Demote the windows 2003 server from the network.

7. Active Directory Command line utilities
NTDSUTIL – Very useful to manage active directory related important tasks -  try to practice each and every command

By installing Windows 2003 Support Tools, other tools get installed

REPLMON – A GUI tool for monitoring AD replication at partition level, you can troubleshoot replication related issues using this tool.

REPADMIN – A CUI tool for troubleshooting AD replication related issues,

repadmin /syncall – initiates replication

repadmin /showreps – displays replication partners

repadmin /kcc – re-creates replication topology automatically

DCDIAG – a very good tool to run diagnostics against domain controller issues. there are so many tests involved in this operation and based on the result you can identify and troubleshoot the issues.

8. Active Directory Backup and Restore
To take backup of active directory we will use NTBACKUP and choose system state backup, specify a location to save that file and BOOM!!!

9. DNS
Get a good idea about DNS records, how many records are there and what are they

Get an idea about different zones

Primay zone

  • Forward lookup zone

  • Reverse lookup zone

Secondary zone

  • Forward lookup zone

  • Reverse lookup zone

Stub zone

AD integrated DNS


Roothint Files


10. Basic network troubleshooting steps
Check the physical connectivity between machines

Ping the ips

nslookup to check dns is working

tracert the destination ip to verify where the request is dropping out

route print

most of the problems are associated with DNS configuration

verify the machine is able to resolve hostnames to ip

verify the machine has pointer record on dns

right click on network connection and repair/diagnose

reset the tcpip stack using netsh

command : netsh> interface > ip> reset reset.txt (go to google if you need more info)


  1. Thanks for providing such good information.

  2. Thanks for this valuable name is Somasekhar. ex employee of CSC hyd...I was trying to find a job as Windows L2 admin..but missing out questions asked about AD..your post give a clear picture where to prepare...


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