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Windows: How to Switch Domain Controller (Client) – Technipages


You may need to switch the domain controller a client computer is connecting to if you are troubleshooting a Windows domain issue. Doing so has helped me a few times to determine if there is a problematic domain controller on the network. Here’s how to force a Windows client computer to use a specific domain controller.


Find Current Domain Controller

You can grab the domain controller that the computer is currently connected to with these steps:

  1. Select the “Start” button.
  2. Type “CMD“.
  3. Hold “Shift” and right-click “Command Prompt“.
  4. Select “Run as different user“.
  5. Type credentials for a Domain Admin user account.
  6. At the Command Prompt, type:
    • nltest /dsgetdc:domainname

Switch Domain Controller Command

Actually switch the domain controller computer is using with these steps.

  1. Select the “Start” button.
  2. Type “CMD“.
  3. Hold “Shift” and right-click “Command Prompt“.
  4. Select “Run as different user“.
  5. Type credentials for a Domain Admin user account.
  6. At the command prompt, type:
    • nltest /Server:ClientComputerName /SC_RESET:DomainNameDomainControllerName

Note: This option is not permanent, as a restart of the computer may grab a different DC.


Set Domain Controller Via Registry

  1. Hold the Windows Key and press “R” to bring up the Windows Run dialog.
  2. Type “Regedit“, then press “Enter“.
  3. Navigate to:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
    • SYSTEM
    • CurrentControlSet
    • Services
    • Netlogon
    • Parameters
  4. Create a String value called “SiteName“, and set it to the domain controller you wish the computer to connect to. (i.e. DC1.domain.com)

 

  • ClientComputerName = Name of the client computer you want to switch domain for.
  • DomainName = Name of Domain.
  • DomainControllerName = Computer name of domain controller.

I hope this guide has helped you switch a client PC to a specific domain controller in your environment. Please feel free to leave a comment below and detail your experience.



This post was written by Mitch Bartlett and was first posted to Technipages



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