Windows Server 2003 - DCDiag Tutorial
Windows Server 2003 - DCDiag Tutorial
DCDiag is one of those command line utilities that you should turn to when you have a Windows Server 2003 problem. As a source of Active Directory clues, DCDiag comes second only to the Event Logs. You may have guessed that the DC in DCDiag means domain controller.
Even if your Active Directory appears to be running smoothly, it is still worth running DCDiag, if only to learn about the components of a healthy operating system. For example DCDiag shows the existence of the knowledge consistency checker (kccevent).
Tutorial Topics for DCDiag
With DCDiag it's not so much installing, as getting a copy from the Window Server 2003 Support tools. I could not help noticing that after I installed Windows Server 2003 SP1, there was a new DCDiag with twice the file size. It reported to be version 5.2.3790.1830. Intrigued, I checked the old version and found it was 5.2.3790.0 (no 1830). Further research revealed that indeed, the new version has more tests; as DNS is always a worry whenever there is an Active Directory problem, I was pleased to see Microsoft added extra DNS health checks in the latest version of DCDiag. (See bottom of this page for a free copy of DCDiag.)
/v I have to admit that at first I had no idea that DCDiag had switches. Whilst I should have known that Microsoft would provide switches, I had no idea that there were so many. I will let you into another secret, I have never before know the /v (verbose) to be of any use. My point is that many utilities have this switch and normally I avoid it, but in the case of DCDiag the /v is a little gem, which I use at every opportunity.
/q From the sublime /v you could go to the ridiculous /q which only report errors.
/s As always, '/s specifies the server, or in this case, the Domain Controller.
/fix Fixes Service Principal Names (SPN) problems.
/f:logfile.txt Slightly confusing given that there is also a /fix switch. It works like the re-direct pipe (> filename.txt). Personally, I copy and paste from the command prompt, but if you are more organized, then use /f:filename to output to a file.
/test: Confession time. I gave up with the /test, I just could not get it to filter the dns tests as advertised. I consoled my self that you can always get the information by running the full test and just reading the parts that are of interest. However, I got the /test switch working perfectly with NetDiag, therefore, is it me or have Microsoft made a documentation error?
SolarWinds' Network Performance Monitor will help you discover what's happening on your network. This utility will also guide you through troubleshooting; the dashboard will indicate whether the root cause is a broken link, faulty equipment or resource overload.
Perhaps the NPM's best feature is the way it suggests solutions to network problems. Its second best feature is the ability to monitor the health of individual VMware virtual machines. If you are interested in troubleshooting, and creating network maps, then I recommend that you give this Network Performance Monitor a try.
Tutorial Leaning Points
1) DCDiag has several useful switches. Actually the switches are an example of horses for courses, for example, if you only want to report on errors, then enter /q. However if you want chapter and verse then /v is your best bet.
2) Use the output as an opportunity to investigate services, for example 'The File Replication Service SYSVOL'. any problem with the frssysvol could alert you to Group Policy problems.
NTM will produce a neat diagram of your network topology. But that's just the start; Network Topology Mapper can create an inventory of the hardware and software of your machines and network devices. Other neat features include dynamic update for when you add new devices to your network. I also love the ability to export the diagrams to Microsoft Visio.
Finally, Guy bets that if you test drive the Network Topology Mapper then you will find a device on your network that you had forgotten about, or someone else installed without you realizing!
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