Today I discovered the usefulness of the “Fix my network” wizard in Windows SBS 2008.
You access it by opening the Windows SBS Console, Clicking on the Network tab, and then clicking on the Connectivity sub-tab.
One of the tasks on the right panel will be the “Fix my network” wizard.
This wizard contains around about 70 different fixes for various network / DNS / IP related issues. With SBS 2003, I often found that re-running the Connect to Internet Wizard on the many different SBS servers I worked with would solve problems experienced with DNS, DHCP, IP settings etc… Well with SBS 2008, it seems they have created this wizard solely for that purpose.
Anyway I was having an issue running the Connect to Internet wizard on the 2008 machine today – I was getting a DNS error and the CTIEW would not complete. I ran the “Fix my Network” wizard and it found a problem with the DNS server (It had stopped – and I didn’t think to check this!) It also picked up that IPv6 for DHCP wasn’t configured (Not that I needed this). After completion, it re-enabled the service and installed the IPv6 DHCP range for me. Turns out that there was a conflict between the two servers that caused the DNS server service to stop.
This is a very handy tool to use when short on time with SBS 2008 network troubleshooting and it is good to see MS implementing handy tools like this with their products – simple and functional!
After one day, you may find your Windows 2008 DNS Server is unable to resolve names in some top level domains (TLD’s) like .co.uk, .cn, and .br when it is configured to use root hints. This may also be seen with other top level domains too. According to Microsoft, a network monitor trace should show that the DNS Server does not send any DNS traffic out to the internet. The Windows 2008 DNS server returns SERVFAIL to the client or when using nslookup. I have not used Network Monitor to verify this myself, but I am sure if you loaded it up and used this MS KB to set up a trace that you would be able to verify this symptom.
Workarounds include restarting the DNS server, clearing the DNS cache, setting maxcachettl to 2 days or greater, and using DNS Forwarders instead of root hints.
This currently occurs with default SBS 2008 installs that have been configured to use root hints for DNS lookup. I have recently noticed this behaviour myself with two different SBS 2008 installs.
If you want to use root hints, you can set the maxcachettl registry value on the Windows 2008 DNS Server as follows:
1. Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
2. Locate the following registry key:
3. On the Edit menu, click New, click DWORD (32-bit) Value and then add the following value:
Data Type: DWORD
Data value: 0x2A300 (172800 in decimal = 2 days)
4. Click OK.
5. Quit Registry Editor.
6. Restart the DNS server.
Another way to get around this issue is to use the following method (I personally prefer this way):
1. Open up DNS under Administrative tools from the SBS server’s start menu.
2. Right click on the server name and select Properties.
3. Go to the Forwarders tab and click on the “edit” button.
4. Enter the primary DNS address of your ISP (In this case mine was BT so I used 188.8.131.52) and click Ok.
5. The forwarders section will now attempt to automatically resolve the FQDN for that IP. (Note you can also probably enter your router’s IP address in the forwarders section which should then get your SBS to look to the router for DNS information).
6. Click Ok to close the properties window and then close your DNS console.
DNS lookups for the TLDs should now be working again. If not, stop and restart DNS or give the server a reboot.