Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE--August 23, 2004

Windows Tips &amp Tricks UPDATE, August 23, 2004, —brought to you by the Windows &amp .NET Magazine Network and the Windows 2000 FAQ site

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  • Q. How can I manually specify an expansion server for my query-based Distribution Group (DG)?
  • Q. Why is placing the Sysvol directory on a separate partition a good practice?
  • Q. How can I force a Flexible Single-Master Operation (FSMO) role to move to a new domain controller (DC)?
  • Q. Why do I receive time errors when I run the Dcdiag utility?
  • Q. What causes the "Initialization error 0x800A1391" error message that I receive when I access Windows Update?

by John Savill, FAQ Editor, [email protected]

This week, I tell you how to manually specify an expansion server for a query-based Distribution Group (DG), why it's a good practice to place the Sysvol directory on a separate partition, and how to force a Flexible Single-Master Operation (FSMO) role to move to a new domain controller (DC). I also explain why time errors could occur when you run the Dcdiag utility and what causes an "Initialization error 0x800A1391" error message that can occur when you access Windows Update.

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Q. How can I manually specify an expansion server for my query-based Distribution Group (DG)?

A. Typically, a Global Catalog (GC) server evaluates a query-based DG every time the DG is used as a target for an email message. If you have query-based DGs that produce large result sets, you can perform these steps to set an explicit server to expand the group every time:

  1. Right-click the query-based DG and select Properties.
  2. Select the Exchange Advanced tab.
  3. Under Expansion Server, change the default "Any server in the organization" to a specific server in the drop-down list.
  4. Click OK.

Q. Why is placing the Sysvol directory on a separate partition a good practice?

A. The Sysvol (Shared System Volume) directory is replicated to every domain controller (DC) in a domain via the File Replication Service (FRS). Here are a couple of good reasons for placing Sysvol on a separate partition:

  • Sysvol's contents and its staging files might increase in size. Placing Sysvol on a separate partition contains the growth of the directory's contents and prevents them from consuming space on the boot partition, thereby preventing problems with other components and performance degradation.
  • Placing Sysvol on its own NTFS partition minimizes disk I/O, thereby reducing the chances of receiving journal wrap errors. FRS uses the NTFS journal to monitor changes in the file system. The journal contains the update sequence number (USN) of the NTFS changes that are stored on each NTFS partition. If FRS can't keep up with the pace of disk I/O, or if FRS is turned off for a period of time, the USN that's referenced in the FRS log might no longer exist in the NTFS volume journal. Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) increased the size of the NTFS journal from 32MB to 512MB by default (with a maximum configurable limit of 10GB) to help reduce the chance of the NTFS journal wrapping before FRS has replicated content.

Q. How can I force a Flexible Single-Master Operation (FSMO) role to move to a new domain controller (DC)?

A. You can transfer FSMO roles either by using the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Active Directory (AD) snap-ins (e.g., Active Directory Users and Computers) or the Ntdsutil utility. However, if the server trying to take ownership of the FSMO role can't contact that role, you might need to force the FSMO role transfer by using Ntdsutil with the seize switch. To use this option, perform the same actions as you usually do when transferring a role with Ntdsutil, except that instead of entering the command

fsmo maintenance: transfer &ltrole&gt

enter the command

fsmo maintenance: seize &ltrole&gt

When you use the seize option, Ntdsutil first tries to transfer the role gracefully. If that transfer fails, Ntdsutil forces the role transfer. You should use the seize option only when the current role holder will be offline indefinitely and its functionality must remain available.

Q. Why do I receive time errors when I run the Dcdiag utility?

A. The time errors might be occurring because the domain controller (DC) isn't configured with an external time source. You can check the DC's time-forwarding status by running the command

net time /querysntp

If the DC isn't set to query an external Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP) server or the configured server isn't available, you can set a valid time value by running the command

net time /setsntp:&ltip address/dns server&gt

Q. What causes the "Initialization error 0x800A1391" error message that I receive when I access Windows Update?

A. This error occurs when Windows Update can't download and install the Windows Update ActiveX component. This problem sometimes occurs when a firewall blocks the download of the component. If you've verified that your firewall isn't causing the error, a possible solution for the problem is to add the following sites to the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) Trusted Sites zone on the system on which you're using Windows Update:

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