The Structure of a Domain Name System Boot File

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This article discusses the structure and functionality of a boot filewithin the Domain Name System (DNS) schema. The first file in a DNSserver is the boot file. However, the boot file is not defined in theRequest for Comments (RFCs) and is not needed for a DNS server to be RFCcompliant. Boot files are actually a part of the Berkeley Internet NameDomain (BIND) implementation of DNS. Boot files determine the startupbehavior for DNS servers that incorporate the BIND specifications. AMicrosoft Windows 2000 DNS server is compatible with the BINDimplementation that supports the use of boot files.

Background Information

A Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 DNS server is compatible with the BINDimplementation that supports the use of boot files. However, once the DNSserver initializes and the primary zone is created, the information inthe boot file is migrated into the registry. Therefore, whenever the DNSserver service is initialized on the network, the boot information isread from the registry. The original boot file is copied to a backupfolder after it is migrated into the registry. The backup folder islocated in the %SystemRoot%\System32\Dns folder.
More information
You can configure the Windows 2000 DNS service to start from a boot file,rather than from the registry. This option includes the ability to managethe zone from DNS Manager even when you start from the boot file. It isalso possible to use the registry for items (such as Notify Lists) thatcannot be specified in the boot file. Under Windows 2000, DNS can startusing the following methods: boot file, registry boot, or directoryservices boot. You can modify these methods in the properties of the serverin the DNS Manager.

The boot file contains the following default parameters:


This parameter specifies a directory where other files that are referredto in the boot file can be found. This parameter is not needed ifadditional files are not referenced in the boot file.
Syntax : directory <directory>
Example: directory c:\winnt\system32\dns


This parameter specifies a file that allows the DNS service to contactname servers for the root domain. This parameter is required where theboot file is used, and the file it refers to must be present. A cachefile (Cache.dns) suitable for use on the Internet is provided withWindows 2000.
Syntax : cache <filename>
Example: cache cache.dns


This parameter specifies a domain for which this name server isauthoritative and a database file that contains the resource records forthat domain (a zone file on the DNS server computer). Multiple instancesof this parameter can exist in a boot file, one for each zone for whichthe server is a primary server.
Syntax : primary <domain> <filename>
Example: primary


This parameter specifies a domain for which this name server isauthoritative, and a list of master server IP addresses from which todownload the zone information, rather than from a local file. Thisparameter also defines the name of the local file to use for cachingtransferred zone data. Multiple secondary records can exist in the bootfile, one for each zone for which the server is a secondary server.
Syntax : secondary <domain> <hostlist> <local filename>
Example: secondary


This parameter specifies another server that can try to resolve recursivequeries.
Syntax : forwarders <hostlist>
Example: forwarders


This parameter specifies that the use of forwarders is the only possibleway to resolve queries. Slave servers can follow only a forwarder'sparameter.
Syntax : slave
Example: forwarders

Article ID: 194513 - Last Review: 10/26/2013 13:39:00 - Revision: 3.0

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
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