Modifying server defaults

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Modifying server defaults

The DNS console provides the ability to reconfigure some types of DNS server defaults for instances when defaults are not appropriate for use with a specific DNS server. Some configurable nondefault settings include:

  • Selecting an alternate server configuration method to be used when initiating service.

  • Disabling the use of recursion.

Methods for initiating service

The following methods are available to determine how the DNS Server service initializes and provides service when started.

Method Description

From registry

Initializes the DNS Server service by reading parameters stored in the registry.

From file

Initializes the DNS Server service using an optional boot file, as used by Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) servers.

To use this file, supply a copy of a boot file from another DNS server running a DNS server that is based on the BIND implementation. On BIND-based DNS servers, this file is typically called the Named.boot file. The format of this file must be the older BIND 4 format, not the more recent BIND 8 boot file format.

If used, settings and directives in this file are used instead of comparable settings stored in the registry on the DNS server computer. For any parameters not configurable using boot file directives, registry defaults (or stored reconfigured server settings) are applied by the DNS Server service.

From Active Directory and registry

Initializes the DNS Server service by reading parameters stored in the Active Directory database and the server registry. This is the default boot option.


Disabling recursion

By default, recursion is enabled for the DNS Server service, and clients typically request that the server use recursion to resolve a name when sending a query. If recursion is disabled, the DNS Server service always uses referral, regardless of the client request.

In general, DNS servers can answer queries for names outside of their authoritative zones in two ways:

  • Servers can send referral answers, which are an immediate response to the requesting client with a list of resource records for other DNS servers it knows about that appear to be closer or more likely to be of help in resolving the queried name.

  • Servers can use recursion to query other servers on behalf of the requesting client, attempting to fully resolve the name. Recursive lookups continue until the server receives an authoritative answer for the queried name. The server then forwards this answer in response to the original query from the requesting client.

In most cases, disabling recursion on a DNS server happens when DNS clients are to be limited to resolving names authoritatively managed on a specific server. For example, this is the case when a DNS server has only DNS names data for an internal network or when the DNS server is incapable of resolving external DNS names (such as Internet DNS names) and clients are expected to retry another DNS server to resolve these names.


  • For more information on how to enable or disable the use of recursion with the DNS Server service, see Disable recursion on the DNS server.

  • If you disable recursion on the DNS server, you will not be able to use forwarders on the same server.