Configuring DNS Settings

Using a graphical user interface

To configure the DNS suffix, do the following:

  1. From the Control Panel, open the System applet.
  2. Select the Computer Name tab (Network Identification tab on Windows 2000).
  3. Click the Change button (Settings button on Windows 2000).
  4. Click the More button.
  5. Enter the suffix under the Primary DNS suffix of this computer heading.
  6. Check the box beside Change primary DNS suffix when domain membership changes if you want the suffix to change to the name of the Active Directory domain the computer joins.
  7. Click OK until all the windows are closed. You will be prompted to reboot for the changes to take effect.

To modify the list of DNS servers used during name resolution, configure how unqualified names are resolved, and configure DNS dynamic registration, do the following:

  1. From the Control Panel, open the Network Connections applet.
  2. Double-click the connection you want to modify.
  3. From this screen you can configure whether to use the DNS servers obtained through DHCP or to manually enter them. In the latter case, you can enter preferred and alternate DNS servers.
  4. To configure the other DNS settings, click the Advanced button.
  5. Select the DNS tab.
  6. From this screen you can configure additional DNS servers to use during resolution, configure how unqualified names are handled, set a DNS suffix for this connection, and configure DNS registration for this connection.
  7. When you are done, click OK until all screens are closed.

Using a command-line interface

To view the current DNS configuration for all connections on the local machine, run this command:

> netsh int ip show dns

To make a connection using DHCP-specified DNS settings, use this command:

> netsh int ip set dns "<ConnectionName>" dhcp

Here is an example:

> netsh int ip set dns "Local Area Connection" dhcp

To make a connection using a specified DNS server for name resolution, use this command:

> netsh int ip set dns "Local Area Connection" static <IPAddress>

Here is an example:

> netsh int ip set dns "Local Area Connection" static 10.0.0.1

This command allows you to specify only one DNS server for name resolution.

With the same command, you can also configure whether the connection registers the host’s name under the primary DNS suffix or the connection-specific suffix. To register just the primary DNS suffix, append “primary” to the end of the command. To register both, append “both.” To register nothing, append “none.” Here is an example:

> netsh int ip set dns "Local Area Connection" static 10.0.0.1 primary


With Windows Server 2003 Active Directory, you can now configure most DNS client settings via Group Policy. Windows 2000 Group Policy allowed you to only configure the primary DNS suffix (Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > DNS Client > Primary DNS Suffix).

With Windows Server 2003, you can configure the DNS suffix, dynamic updates settings, search list, and DNS servers used for name resolution among many other settings. These settings can be found by navigating the following path of a Group Policy Object: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Network > DNS Client.