How Do I Install Active Directory and DNS on Windows Server 2016?


Scott Campbell

Welcome to this step-by-step tutorial on how to install Active Directory and DNS on Windows Server 2016. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of setting up these essential components for your network infrastructure. So, let’s get started!


Before we dive into the installation process, make sure you have the following prerequisites:

  • A Windows Server 2016 machine with administrative access
  • An internet connection to download necessary files

Step 1: Installing Active Directory

The first step is to install the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) role on your Windows Server 2016 machine. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Server Manager by clicking on the Start menu and selecting it from the list of available applications.
  2. In Server Manager, click on Add roles and features.
  3. A new window will open.

    Click on Next until you reach the Server Roles section.

  4. Select Active Directory Domain Services.
  5. A prompt will appear asking you to add additional features required for AD DS. Click on Add Features.
  6. Click on Next, review the information provided, and then click on Install.
  7. The installation process will begin. Wait until it completes successfully.
  8. Once installed, click on the notification flag in Server Manager and selectPromote this server to a domain controller.


Make sure to configure a static IP address before promoting the server to a domain controller.

Step 2: Configuring Active Directory

After installing AD DS, it’s time to configure Active Directory. Follow these steps:

  1. In the Deployment Configuration window, select Add a new forest.
  2. Enter the desired root domain name for your Active Directory environment.

    For example, if your company is named “,” enter “example” as the root domain name.

  3. Select the appropriate forest and domain functional levels based on your requirements.
  4. Set a strong password for the Directory Services Restore Mode Administrator Password.
  5. Review the NetBIOS name and paths for database, log files, and SYSVOL folder. You can modify them if needed.
  6. Review all the settings and click on Next.
  7. The prerequisites check will be performed. If everything is in order, click on Install.

Step 3: Installing DNS Server

DNS (Domain Name System) is crucial for resolving hostnames to IP addresses in your network. Let’s install and configure it:

  1. In Server Manager, click on Add roles and features.
  2. Select the appropriate server from the server pool or leave it as default if you have only one server.
  3. Select DNS Server from the list of server roles.
  4. A prompt will appear asking you to add additional features required for DNS Server role.

    Click on Add Features.

Step 4: Configuring DNS Server

Now that DNS Server is installed, let’s configure it:

  1. In Server Manager, click on Tools, and then select DNS.
  2. In the DNS Manager, expand your server’s name and right-click on Forward Lookup Zones.
  3. SelectNew Zone.
  4. A wizard will open. Click on Next, selectPrimary zone, and then click onNext.
  5. Enter a name for the zone (e.g., and click onNext.
  6. Select the desired options for zone replication and click onNext.
  7. Select whether you want to allow dynamic updates or not.

    Choose accordingly and click onNext.

  8. Review the information provided and click onFinish. The new zone will now appear in the DNS Manager.


You have successfully installed Active Directory and DNS Server on your Windows Server 2016 machine. Now you can start managing users, computers, and other resources in your network environment.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful in guiding you through the installation process. If you encounter any issues or have any questions, feel free to reach out for assistance. Happy networking!

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