Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

Active Directory Changes in Windows .NET Server 2003

Improvements in the functionality and reliability of Active Directory are of key importance to the development team at Microsoft and to the entire Microsoft .NET Services initiative as a whole. It is therefore no small surprise that Windows .NET Server 2003 introduces improvements in Active Directory. From the ability to rename Active Directory domains to improvements in replication compression, the changes made to the structure of Active Directory warrant a closer look.

Windows .NET Active Directory Domain Rename Tool

A promised feature of Active Directory that has been eagerly awaited is the ability to prune, splice, and rename Active Directory domains. Given the nature of corporate America, with restructuring, acquisitions, and name changes occurring constantly, the ability of Active Directory to be flexible in naming and structure is of utmost importance. The Active Directory rename tool was devised to address this very need.

Before you start renaming your Windows 2000 Active Directory tree into your dream domain, several key prerequisites must be in place before the domain structure can be modified. First, and probably the most important, all domain controllers in the entire forest must be upgraded to Windows .NET Server 2003 in advance. In addition, the forest must be upgraded to Windows .NET functionality. Finally, you should perform comprehensive backups of your environment before undertaking the rename.

The domain rename process is complex and should never be considered as routine. After the process, each domain controller must be rebooted and each member computer across the entire forest must also be rebooted (twice). For a greater understanding of the domain rename tool and process, see Chapter 17.

Improvements in the Configure Your Server Wizard

The Configure Your Server (CYS) Wizard, introduced with Windows 2000 Server, has been vastly improved. If you were used to disabling this wizard in Windows 2000, you may think again in Windows .NET because the wizard can be very helpful in configuring your server for the role that it will play, shutting off services that are not necessary and configuring ones that are needed. There are now options to configure a server as a Terminal server, as well as Routing and Remote Access server (RRAS) configurations.

Cross-Forest Trusts

Windows .NET Server 2003 Active Directory introduces the capability to establish cross-forest trusts between two disparate Active Directory forests. This capability allows two companies to share resources more easily, without actually merging the forests. Note that these types of trusts are not transitive, and must be set up manually in each direction.

Active Directory Replication Compression Disable Support

By default, all replication traffic between domain controllers in Active Directory is compressed to reduce network traffic. However, this compression can have the undesired effect of slowing down processor performance on the domain controllers. In Windows .NET Server 2003 Active Directory, you have the option of turning off this functionality, disabling compression and saving processor cycles. This would normally be an option only for organizations with very fast connections between all their domain controllers.

Schema Attribute Deactivation

Developers who write applications for Active Directory can take heart in the fact that Windows .NET Server 2003's Active Directory implementation offers the ability to deactivate schema attributes, allowing custom-built applications to utilize custom attributes without fear of conflict. In addition, attributes can be deactivated to reduce replication traffic.

Incremental Universal Group Membership Replication

Windows 2000 previously had a major drawback in the use of universal groups. Membership in those groups was stored in a single, multivalued attribute in Active Directory. Essentially, what this meant was that any changes to membership in a universal group required a complete re-replication of all membership. In other words, if you had a universal group with 5,000 users, adding number 5,001 would require a major replication effort because all 5,001 users would be re-replicated across the forest. Windows .NET Server 2003 simplifies this process and allows for incremental replication of universal group membership. In essence, only the 5,001st member is replicated in Windows .NET Server 2003.

Active Directory in Application Mode

One additional function of Windows .NET Server 2003 is the Active Directory in Application Mode (AD/AM) product. AD was given the capability to run separate instances of itself as unique services. Active Directory in Application Mode allows specialized applications to utilize AD/AM as their own directory service, negating the need for a new form of directory service for every critical application within an organization.

AD/AM uses the same replication engine as Active Directory, follows the same X.500 structure, and is close enough to real AD functionality to allow it to be installed as a testbed for developers who design AD applications. Despite the similarities, however, AD/AM runs as a separate service from the operating system, with its own schema and structure, untying it from the limitations that a production NOS would hold it to.

The real value to an AD/AM implementation comes from its capability to utilize the security structure of the production domain(s), while maintaining its own directory structure. In fact, an instance of AD/AM can run on as a service on a Windows .NET Server 2003 member server in a Windows NT domain. The AD/AM would then utilize NT domain accounts for its own security.

AD/AM functionality was developed in direct response to one of the main limitations in using Microsoft's Active Directory: the fact that the directory was so intrinsically tied to the NOS that applications which did not require the extra NOS-related functionality of AD were restricted in their particular directory needs. AD/AM allows each application to have its own separate AD directory forest and allows for personalized modification of the directory, such as schema extensions, tailored replication (or lack of replication) needs, and other key directory needs.

One of the major advantages to AD/AM also lies in the fact that multiple instances of AD/AM can run on a single machine, each with its own unique name, port number, and separate binaries. In addition, AD/AM can run on any version of Windows .NET Server 2003 or even on Windows XP Professional for development purposes. Each instance of AD/AM can utilize a separate, tailored schema.

AD/AM is virtually indistinguishable from a normal NOS instance of Active Directory and consequently can be administered using the standard tools used for AD, such as ADSIEdit, LDP.exe, and the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) tools. In addition, user accounts can be created, unique replication topologies created, and all normal AD functionality can be performed on a tailored copy of an AD forest.

In short, AD/AM provides applications with the advantages of the Active Directory environment, but without the NOS limitations that previously forced the implementation of multiple, cost-ineffective directories. Developers now can exploit the full functionality of Windows .NET Server 2003's Active Directory without limitation, while at the same time assuming the numerous advantages of integration into a common security structure.

Additional Changes

In addition to the changes listed in the preceding sections, Active Directory in Windows .NET Server 2003 supports the following new features:

  • AD-Integrated DNS Zones in Application Partitions—DNS zones that are Active Directory integrated are now stored in the application partition. This basically means that fewer objects need to be stored in AD, reducing replication concerns with DNS.

  • AD Lingering Objects Removal—Objects listed in Active Directory that no longer exist can now be easily removed in Windows .NET Server 2003.

  • AD Administration Enhancements—Administrative tools have been enhanced in Windows .NET Server 2003 to facilitate common tasks such as working with ACLs, finding objects, and selecting multiple OUs for tasks.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020