Active Directory network error: “Failed to Contact Domain Controller”

755 pts.
Active Directory
Active Directory 2008
Active Directory Administration
Active Directory errors
Network connectivity
Occasionally users can not log in to our 2008 Active Directory network. They get a failed to contact a domain controller. We have two AD boxes and when this happens no one can log on. It lasts a few minutes at most. How can we troubleshoot and resolve this issue?

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Check the event viewer on the Domain controllers during the issue (or if you have an idea of the time frame, then you should be able to find any related issues). I’d check the application, system, and security event viewers. See if you have any failed logins during the time period, as this will tell you if the domain controller is actually responding to requests or not. If the issue seems to happen around the same time, or at least once a day, try setting up perfmon on the server to make sure that it’s not an issue with a scheduled task or resource contention or anything like that.

You may also need to check the network. if possible, put a laptop in your rack temporarily, or login from a server that is on the same switch as the domain controller. This will help you determine if it is a network issues (possibly a bad switch/router, or a bad cable somewhere in the mix. You may need to work backwards while the issue is happening.

Without more information on the issue, it’s hard to pinpoint a good troubleshooting step so you’ll have to start pretty broad since there could be any number of reasons why your seeing this issue.

Discuss This Question: 6  Replies

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  • Subhendu Sen
    Maximum possible if cannot connect the domain controller, because WINS issue. Make sure primary wins settings set up correctly. And also take care about virus issue....
    96,740 pointsBadges:
  • Coss
    I had a simular problem in one of my offices, and it ended up being a main switch and different cabling problems. There was such a lag in the network response that it would bring up the workstations faster than it could communicate with the DC's. A reboot was necessary in some cases. Once you would reboot the workstation, there was no problem logging in.
    60 pointsBadges:
  • jinteik
    Can it be that 1 of the pc's are infected with virus thus all your network is being pointed to somewhere else? Once in my office last time, the main core switch was on the way to spoil and it did cause the network to be intermittent. it only happen to servers connected to that switch. other servers were ok... Maybe you can help us by providing what steps that have been done on your side so that we can do some elimination process.
    18,995 pointsBadges:
  • saturno
    Hi there, All of the above comments are a good start without any further information from you. I say that you have 2 AD boxes but one question arises to me: are both of them Global catalog's? Only Global Catalog's are able to process logins. Please check in Sites and Services if the 2nd AD machine is also a Global Catalog. This will not resolve your problem it will only balance and act as a faillover login server for your domain. In a small to medium scenario and in a normal condition, two Global Catalog's in one site should take care of all your login request's. HTH Luís
    4,585 pointsBadges:
  • c007
    1. Check the physical cable LAN and Switch 2. Check the event viewer on Domain Controler 3. You said you have 2 AD Boxes, try to isolate first if there is a conflict between 2 AD. is this happen to all workstations? or single workstation only?
    285 pointsBadges:
  • Featured Member: C007 - ITKE Community Blog
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