Enable Clients to Locate a Domain Controller in the Next Closest Site

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2

You can modify the Default Domain Policy to enable Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 clients in the domain to locate domain controllers in the next closest site if no domain controller in their own site or the closest site is available.

Membership Enterprise Admins in the forest or Domain Admins in the domain, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477).

To enable clients to locate a domain controller in the next closest site

  1. Click Start, click Administrative Tools, and then click Group Policy Management.

  2. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Continue.

  3. Double-click **Forest:**forest_name, double-click Domains, and then double-click domain_name.

  4. Right-click Default Domain Policy, and then click Edit.

  5. In Group Policy Management Editor, in the console tree, go to Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/System/Netlogon/DC Locator DNS Records.

  6. In the details pane, double-click Try Next Closest Site, click Enabled, and then click OK.

As an option, you can create the following registry entry to affect the Domain Locator (DC Locator) behavior for an individual computer that runs Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008. However, using a domain-wide Group Policy object (GPO) is recommended instead because the behavior will be more consistent.


Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer.

HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Netlogon\Parameters\Try Next Closest Site

If the registry entry DWORD value is 1, DC Locator will try to find the domain controller in the next closest site if it cannot find a domain controller in the client's site. If the value is 0, DC Locator will find any domain controller if it cannot find a domain controller in the client's site.

To verify the setting, type the following command:


Or on the caller, the NETLOGON.LOG or ETW tracing in dsgetdcname indicates the domain controller in the next closest site.

With the policy enabled, site-specific DNS queries appear first for the site defined in “dynamicsitename”, then a fallback to the next closest site, and finally a siteless query.

More information:



Change History

Date Revision

Sept 12, 2011

Corrected Registry path and added verification information.