Windows Tip Sheet

Automate Conversion of Your DCs Into GCs

Speed up DC deployment with a simple GC script.

I was recently helping a client deploy domain controllers (DCs) in about three dozen new offices (frequent flier miles, here I come). Because each office would eventually house about six hundred employees and because the company uses Exchange Server 2003, it seemed sensible to add two or three domain controllers to each office and ensure at least one of them was a Global Catalog (GC) server. To save time—we’re talking a total of 75 new DCs—we worked up an automated installations script to install the domain controllers.

After deploying DCs in two offices, we realized that none of the DCs we were installing had been made into GC servers. Of course, we realized this because users were going across the WAN for address book lookups and were raising heck about the poor performance of their e-mail clients! We quickly designated a GC in each location but wanted to fix the problem in our deployment technique.

We were using a Dcpromo answer file to handle the domain controller promotion process, and a little research turned up the answer: We simply needed to add the line ConfirmGC = Yes to the answer file for the DCs that would be GC servers. Seemed like a nice simple tip for speeding up DC deployment, so I thought I’d share it!

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More Resources:

  • Read more about automating DCpromo here.
  • Learn to combine unattended Setup and unattended DCpromo here.
  • The official word on the subject of unattended DC promotion can be found here.

About the Author

Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is an Author/Evangelist for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of PowerShell.org, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConcentratedDon.

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