Microsoft DreamSpark

I accidently found this place called "Microsoft DreamSpark" from MSDN, where several Microsoft products giving for students at no cost. In their words,
"DreamSpark is simple, it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and design tools at no charge so you can chase your dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get head start on your career"

But currently this is only for students in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Germany, France, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium. But they are saying that they are working on adding more countries, so keep checking it.

Here is the Microsoft DreamSpark link for more details.

Active Directory

Active Directory is a centralized and standardized system that automates network management of user data, security, and distributed resources, and enables interoperation with other directories. It is an implementation of LDAP directory services which is designed especially for distributed networking environments.

Its main purpose is to provide central authentication and authorization services for Windows based computers. Additionally it allows administrators to assign policies, maintain software, maintain user and group rights assignments, and apply critical updates to an organization.

Active Directory structure is a hierarchical framework of objects. These objects fall into three main categories

  • Resources
  • Services
  • Users

The Active Directory provides information on the objects, organizes objects, controls access and sets security. In the Active Directory, an object is uniquely identified by its name and object has a set of attributes (characteristics and information that the object can contain) defined by a schema, which also limit the kind of objects that can be stored in the directory.

The framework that holds the objects is viewed at a number of levels. The top level of the structure is “Forest“. Forest is the collection of every object, its attributes, and rules in the directory. The forest holds one or more transitive, trust linked “Trees”. A tree holds one or more “Domains” and domain trees, again linked in a transitive trust hierarchy. Domains are identified by their DNS name structure, the namespace.

Features of Active Directory

  • Support for the X.500 global directory standard
  • Provide the capability for secure extension of network operations to the Web
  • A hierarchical organization that provides a single point of access for system administration to reduce redundancy and errors
  • Provide single logon capability
  • An object oriented storage organization, which allows easier access to information
  • Support for LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) to enable inter-directory operability
  • Designed to be both backward and forward compatible

How to install Active Directory in Windows Server 2003

This is a simple guide to install Active Directory with a Domain Controller and a new Domain in a Windows Server 2003 machine as a fresh installation. Before begin the installation make sure you have the Windows Server 2003 installation CD.

1. Go to Start -> Run

2. Type the command “dcpromo”, hit “Enter”

You will get “Active Directory Installation Wizard”

3. To continue, click “Next”

4. Click “Next” again after reading OS Compatibility

5. Here you will be given two options to create a “Domain Controller for a new domain” or to create “Additional domain controller for an existing domain”.

Assume here we are going to create a “Domain Controller for a new domain”. Select 1st option and click “Next”

Domain controllers

When you create the first domain controller in your organization, you are also creating the first domain, the first forest, the first site, and installing Active Directory. Domain controllers running Windows Server 2003 store directory data and manage user and domain interactions, including user logon processes, authentication, and directory searches.

Determining the number of domain controllers you need

A small organization using a single local area network (LAN) might need only one domain with two domain controllers for high availability and fault tolerance. A larger organization with many network locations will need one or more domain controllers in each site.

6. Now you will get the “Create New Domain” window with 3 options to create a new “Domain in a new forest” or “Child domain in an existing domain tree” or “Domain tree in an existing forest”

Assume we are going to create a new “Domain in a new forest”. Select 1st option and click “Next”


Domains are units of replication. All of the domain controllers in a particular domain can receive changes and replicate those changes to all other domain controllers in the domain. Each domain in Active Directory is identified by a Domain Name System (DNS) domain name and requires one or more domain controllers. If your network requires more than one domain, you can easily create multiple domains. One or more domains that share a common schema and global catalog are referred to as a forest. The first domain in a forest is referred to as the forest root domain.

7. You will be taking into “Install or Configure DNS” window with 2 options to “Configure the DNS client”, if DNS is already running on the network or to “Install and configure DNS on this computer”.

I’ll select second option here. So I have to Install and configure a DNS. Click “Next” to continue.

8. Give “Full DNS name for new domain” (Ex: “”) and click “Next”

9. Give “NetBIOS Domain Name” (This is the name that users of earlier versions of Windows will use to identify the new domain) and click “Next.

10. Select locations to store “Database and Log Folders” (It is recommended to store these files in a separate hard disk). Click “Next”.

11. Select a location as a “Shared System Volume”. This is the place where server store domain’s public files. This location must contain NTFS file system.

12. You will be given two options to select “Permissions” with backward compatibility of operating systems up to Windows 2000 or including pre-Windows 2000 server operating systems. I select up to Windows 2000. Click “Next”

13. Provide a password for restore mode and confirm it.

14. Here you can see the summary of what have done so far. Click “Next” to continue.

15. Wait several minutes till system configure the Active Directory. You may ask to insert Windows Server installation CD while configuring. (Note: If your system has dynamically assigned IP address, configuration process will complain. So you must have to get a static IP for your machine)

16. You’re done. Congratulations.