Active Directory Replication Problems Solved with Preparation Wizard

Active Directory Replication Problems Solved with Preparation Wizard

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For those of you who are new to these tools, we’ve talked about the Preparation and Planning

Wizards before on our blog.  We also have a dedicated page for it here.  As well, the team over at

TechNet Edge did an article on the tools.


These tools are not just for customers with Essential Business Server or those who are planning to

deploy this solution in their environments. These tools are for anyone with Active Directory in

their network who would like to verify the health of their environment.


Today I would like to focus on a special category of issues that these tools help resolve around

Active Directory replication.  


As a member of the EBS team, I see a lot of mid-sized networks (25-300 PCs) where

Active Directory replication errors are very common. These issues are also very hard to troubleshoot, mostly because there are quite a few potential causes of these problems.  To name just a few, AD replication may fail due to DNS issues, connectivity problems, security issues, time synchronization problems, etc. etc. TechNet has a great description of some of these potential causes.

How do the tools help find and resolve AD replication issues?

Preparation Wizard is a great tool that helps troubleshoot Active Directory replication issues.  The tool scans the existing network, identifies the source of AD replication errors and provides links to knowledge based articles that explain how to correct these issues. In order to identify the source of Active Directory replication errors, Preparation Wizard uses LDAP, DNS queries and WMI to contact each server in the network and run a set of checks to verify that AD replication is functioning correctly.  In addition, the tool specifically looks for events that indicate Active Directory replication problems. Note that Preparation Wizard does not change the environment, so the tool is completely safe to run at any time!

How is it different from other tools?

Unlike many other known tools which simply dump large amounts of networking data collected from a single source (such as event logs, for instance), Preparation Wizard is able to gather data from many different areas( Active Directory, DNS, SYSVOL, event logs, etc.), cross reference that data, and make conclusions about the overall health of the network. Preparation Wizard has over 100 different checks which are based on most common issues resolved by Microsoft Customer Support Services over the past 10 years!

Specifics tool verifies?

There are several tests that Preparation Wizard runs to ensure AD replication functions correctly.  Among others, the tool verifies that:

·         Network connectivity is available and network settings are properly configured

·         Name resolution for all domain controllers is functioning properly

·         Inbound AD replication is enabled for all domain controller

·         Outbound AD replication is enabled for all domain controllers

·         AD replication with corrupt partners is disabled

·         Each domain controller replicates changes within a certain threshold (AD replication is fast enough)

·         Domain, Schema, and Configuration naming contexts are defined on all domain controllers in the Active Directory sites

·         All naming contexts can replicate successfully

·         Knowledge Consistency Checker's automatic generation of intra-site or inter-site topology management is enabled

Go get it – it’s FREE!

Link to supporting documents and other resources on troubleshooting Active Directory replication:,295582,sid68_gci1263312,00.html#



Julia Kuzminova
EBS Community Program Manager

  • FIXED my problem!

    I ran DCDIAG with Win2K3 SP2 Support Tools and found that both the Windows Time and Intersite Messaging services were set to Disabled.  I set to Automatic and started them both, and the EBS Preparation Wizard ran correctly.

    Just wanted to share with others.  Thanks.

  • Hi

    the Preparation Wizard gave me an impression of its capability to install a fresh servers trinity (i.e. new instance of EBS 2008) in existent EBS domain

    But this impression is false: the Planning wizard denies an attempt installing new Management instance while the first one is connected. It forces the "single server replacement" scenario inadvertenly.

    The Preparation wizard may check this condition in the first screen.

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