DNS-related files

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

The following files relate to using and configuring DNS servers and clients.

File Description


BIND boot configuration file. This file is not created by the DNS console. However, as an optional configuration for the DNS Server service, it can be copied from another DNS server running the Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) server implementation of DNS. To use this file with the DNS Server service, you need to click From file in Server properties. On BIND servers, this file is often called the "named.boot" file.


Used to preload resource records into the DNS server names cache. DNS servers use this file to help locate root servers on either your network or the Internet.

By default, this file contains DNS resource records that prime the local cache of the server with the addresses of authoritative root servers for the Internet. If you are setting up a DNS server to resolve Internet DNS names, the information in this file is required unless you enable the use of another DNS server as a forwarder to resolve these names.

Traffic to the Internet root servers is heavy, but because host names are not usually resolved at this level, the load can be reasonably handled. Instead, the root hints file provides referral information that can be useful during DNS name resolution to redirect a query to other servers that are authoritative for names located beneath the root.

For DNS servers operating privately on your internal network, the DNS console can learn and replace the contents of this file with internal root servers on your network, provided they are reachable through the network when you are setting up and configuring new DNS servers. It can be updated using the DNS console from the Root Hints tab located under the applicable server properties.

This file preloads the server names cache when it is started.


Root zone file. This file can appear at a DNS server if it is configured as a root server for your network.


Used when a standard zone (either primary or secondary) is added and configured for the server. Files of this type are not created or used for primary type zones that are directory-integrated, which are stored in the Active Directory database.

These files can be found in the systemroot\System32\Dns folder on the server computer.


  • For more information about operating a DNS server as a root server, see Updating root hints.

  • For more information on hosting your own DNS presence on the Internet, see Interoperability issues.

  • For more information about configuring DNS servers on your network to use forwarders, see Using forwarders.

  • If you are migrating server files from a BIND server to use with a Windows DNS server, you need to rename these files and copy them to the folder used by the DNS Server service. For more information, see Migrating servers.