Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week: Windows XP Pro in AD Environments, Part 1

By Jason Zandri (Send Email)
Posted Jan 14, 2003


Welcome to this week's installment of "Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week," the 20th in this series. In this article we will take a look at the Active Directory service provided by Windows 2000 server and how it interacts in Windows XP Professional environments.

The latest installment in Jason Zandri's 'Learn Windows XP in 15 Minutes a Week' series focuses on the Active Directory service provided by Windows 2000 server and how it interacts in Windows XP Professional environments.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - I am going to do my best not to repeat too much material from my Windows 2000 Network Environment Overview, Active Directory Logical Architecture, and my Active Directory Domains, Organizational Units and the Global Catalog articles, all of which are part of the "Learn Active Directory Design and Administration in 15 Minutes a Week" series. Inevitably, however, some sections will overlap. (It also wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to take a look at those articles first, and then head back here.)

Active Directory Logical Architecture

Forests

The Windows 2000 Active Directory forest is the collection of one or more Microsoft Windows 2000 domains that share a common schema, configuration, and global catalog. You will find all different types of clients in this setup, everything from Windows 9x systems up to and through Windows XP Professional. You might even find Windows NT 3.51, NT 4 and 2000 member servers in a Windows 2000 forest.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - What you will not find, unless it's been hacked to do so, is a Windows XP Home edition system as a member of a domain. This is not a supported configuration. Windows XP Professional is the only version of Windows XP that allows users to join and be managed by the domain. This is outlined in full detail on the Microsoft Web site in the Windows XP in a Domain Environment article.

The domain namespace of the domain trees in the forest is not always a contiguous namespace. If there is a single tree in the forest, it will have a common domain namespace. Since there can be more than one domain tree in a forest (it is not a requirement, but it is allowed) these different domain trees will have their own individual contiguous namespaces.

All of the domains in a domain tree, and all of the trees in a single forest, have the connectivity benefit of the two-way, transitive trust relationship, which is the default trust relationship between Windows 2000 domains. A two-way, transitive trust, by definition, is the combination of a transitive trust and a two-way trust. This complete trust between all domains in an Active Directory domain hierarchy helps form the forest as a single unit via its common schema, configuration, and global catalog.

The first Windows 2000 domain installed in the forest is considered the forest root domain.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - Much of this information is a requirement for the 70-217 and the 70-219 exams. You also need to have a high understanding of this material for the 70-270 exam.

Figure 1: The Windows 2000 Forest

Figure 1 illustrates a single Windows 2000 Forest with two domain trees. Zandri.net and Gunderville.com are both in the same forest, yet each of their domain namespaces have different names.

Trees

Domain trees within the Windows 2000 Active Directory forest are a set of Windows 2000 domains connected together via a two-way transitive trust, sharing a common schema, configuration, and global catalog. To be considered a true Windows 2000 domain tree, the domains must form a contiguous hierarchical namespace with one domain being the domain root.

The first Windows 2000 domain installed in a tree is considered the root domain of that tree. It would be considered the forest root domain only if it was also the first domain in the forest.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - In Figure 1, Zandri.net is linked "down" to Gunderville.com. This is usually designed to show that it is the forest root domain. When the domain tree Zandri.net was first installed, it was installed as the root of the Zandri.net tree and the root of the Active Directory forest. When Gunderville.com was first installed it was installed into an existing forest and as the root of its own domain tree.

In the illustration, the Zandri.net tree has two child domains installed in its tree, Northamerica.Zandri.net and Southamerica.Zandri.net. Likewise, Gunderville.com has two child domains installed in its tree, Northamerica.Gunderville.com and Southamerica.Gunderville.com. This shows the contiguous hierarchical namespace within the domain trees.

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