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Before we begin

Warning: The following article involves editing your system registry. Using the Windows Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems, requiring the reinstallation of your operating system and possible loss of data. TechRepublic does not and will not support problems that arise from editing your registry. Use the Registry Editor and the following directions at your own risk.


An unavailable domain controller
When Windows 2000 logs you on in a domain, the system tries to contact the domain controller (DC) to authenticate the logon request; however, the DC might be unavailable in some situations. For example, the DC could be down, and there may not be any other DC in the domain that can handle authentication requests. Or your workstation may be experiencing a problem with its network hardware. Windows 2000 will still log you on, but it will use a cached set of credentials to do so. That brings up your desktop and enables you to work on your system, yet certain services provided by the DC might not be available, such as logon scripts, the home directory on the server, and group policies. Since Windows 2000 won’t display an error message when it logs on with cached credentials, you might not realize it has happened.

Disable cached logons
One potential approach to this issue is to prevent Windows 2000 from logging you on if the DC is unavailable. When the problem occurs, Windows 2000 displays an error notifying you that the DC couldn’t be located. You can click OK to return to the logon dialog box, select a local account (one stored on your computer rather than the domain), and log on locally. That enables you to continue working but gives you a clue that there is a problem between your computer and the DC.

Now make sure you have a local account on your computer you can use to log on locally. At the logon prompt, enter the credentials for the local Administrator account and select your computer from the Log On To drop-down list. Open the Local Users And Groups console and add a local account, if needed.

Next, open the Registry Editor and open the branch to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Locate the item CachedLogonsCount and set it to 0. That disables the caching of logon credentials. Restart the computer to make the change take effect.

Create a “DC unavailable” logon message
Another way to handle this situation is to have Windows 2000 allow you to log on with cached credentials but also have it display a message indicating that the DC is unavailable. That gives you the benefit of continuing to work with your default logon account while also providing you with an indicator that something is not working properly between your computer and the DC.

In order for Windows 2000 to prompt you regarding the unavailable DC, you’ll need to make changes to the registry. Open the Registry Editor and go to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Now from the Edit menu, click Add Value and then add a REG_SZ item named ReportControllerMissing and set its value to TRUE. Then add the REG_DWORD value ReportDC to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon key for each user needing notification, and set the value to 1. (The default is 0, which prevents the notification.)


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If you would like to read more Windows 2000 tips, sign up for the Windows 2000 Professional TechMail. Let us know what you think about this article by sending us an e-mail or by posting a comment below.


 

Are you looking for a simple way to learn more about Windows 2000 Professional? We’ve got the answer with our Windows 2000 Professional TechMail. This message contains valuable information that can save you time and effort. Below, you’ll find an example of what the Windows 2000 Professional TechMail has to offer. Get valuable tips, links to Windows resources, and much more, all delivered straight to your inbox—absolutely free. Sign up for the Windows 2000 TechMail today!


Before we begin

Warning: The following article involves editing your system registry. Using the Windows Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems, requiring the reinstallation of your operating system and possible loss of data. TechRepublic does not and will not support problems that arise from editing your registry. Use the Registry Editor and the following directions at your own risk.


An unavailable domain controller
When Windows 2000 logs you on in a domain, the system tries to contact the domain controller (DC) to authenticate the logon request; however, the DC might be unavailable in some situations. For example, the DC could be down, and there may not be any other DC in the domain that can handle authentication requests. Or your workstation may be experiencing a problem with its network hardware. Windows 2000 will still log you on, but it will use a cached set of credentials to do so. That brings up your desktop and enables you to work on your system, yet certain services provided by the DC might not be available, such as logon scripts, the home directory on the server, and group policies. Since Windows 2000 won’t display an error message when it logs on with cached credentials, you might not realize it has happened.

Disable cached logons
One potential approach to this issue is to prevent Windows 2000 from logging you on if the DC is unavailable. When the problem occurs, Windows 2000 displays an error notifying you that the DC couldn’t be located. You can click OK to return to the logon dialog box, select a local account (one stored on your computer rather than the domain), and log on locally. That enables you to continue working but gives you a clue that there is a problem between your computer and the DC.

Now make sure you have a local account on your computer you can use to log on locally. At the logon prompt, enter the credentials for the local Administrator account and select your computer from the Log On To drop-down list. Open the Local Users And Groups console and add a local account, if needed.

Next, open the Registry Editor and open the branch to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Locate the item CachedLogonsCount and set it to 0. That disables the caching of logon credentials. Restart the computer to make the change take effect.

Create a “DC unavailable” logon message
Another way to handle this situation is to have Windows 2000 allow you to log on with cached credentials but also have it display a message indicating that the DC is unavailable. That gives you the benefit of continuing to work with your default logon account while also providing you with an indicator that something is not working properly between your computer and the DC.

In order for Windows 2000 to prompt you regarding the unavailable DC, you’ll need to make changes to the registry. Open the Registry Editor and go to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Now from the Edit menu, click Add Value and then add a REG_SZ item named ReportControllerMissing and set its value to TRUE. Then add the REG_DWORD value ReportDC to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon key for each user needing notification, and set the value to 1. (The default is 0, which prevents the notification.)


Get great Windows 2000 tips like this one sent directly to your inbox!

If you would like to read more Windows 2000 tips, sign up for the Windows 2000 Professional TechMail. Let us know what you think about this article by sending us an e-mail or by posting a comment below.