Installing and Using Active Directory Support Tools - Page 2

 By Brien M. Posey
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Replication in Windows 2000
As you may recall, in Windows NT 4.0, changes to the SAM could only be made on the primary domain controller (PDC). The PDC would then tell the backup domain controllers (BDCs) that a change had occurred. The BDCs would then download the changes when they had time.

The replication model I just described is in sharp contrast to Windows 2000's multimaster replication model. In Windows 2000, when someone makes a change to the Active Directory, the change can be made to any domain controller. The change is then replicated to the other domain controllers. A number of factors are used to determine how often replication should occur and to avoid potential conflicts. For more information on this complex process, check out my series on replication (see the CrossLinks sidebar for links).

Active Directory Replication Monitor

The next support tool you should know about is the Active Directory Replication Monitor. As you may know, replication is a big deal in an Active Directory environment. Because of the complexity of replication in Windows 2000, there's a lot of room for things to go wrong. Many administrators have a tendency to make sure that replication is working correctly as new domain controllers are added, but forget to occasionally check up on replication at other times. This is only natural, considering how busy most administrators are. However, unless you occasionally monitor the replication process, you may not notice that a minor replication problem exists until it grows into a big problem.

This is where the Active Directory Replication Monitor comes into play. This tool is designed to keep an eye on all your servers and make sure that replication is functioning correctly between them. Not only can you use this tool to view the current replication status, but you can also use the tool to manually force replication should you discover a problem.


Although the Active Directory Replication Monitor isn't overly complicated to use, it has a lot of options. I'll explore these options in detail in Part 2. I'll then go on to discuss some other Active Directory support tools. //

Brien M. Posey is an MCSE who works as a freelance writer. His past experience includes working as the director of information systems for a national chain of health care facilities and as a network engineer for the Department of Defense. Because of the extremely high volume of e-mail that Brien receives, it's impossible for him to respond to every message, although he does read them all.

This article was originally published on Dec 14, 2000
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