Cannot start Windows 2000 with a large number of DNS zones

This article was previously published under Q259930
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
When you try to start your computer after you have added several thousand DNS zones, you may receive the following error message:
\\winnt\system32\config\system file is missing or corrupt.
This problem can occur if the System hive is larger then approximately 10.3 megabytes (MB). This is because the System hive and the Windows kernel must fit below 16 MB when Windows starts.
To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Windows 2000. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in theMicrosoft Knowledge Base:
260910 How to Obtain the Latest Windows 2000 Service Pack
The English version of this fix should have the following file attributes or later:
   Date       Time            Size            File name       -------------------------------------------------------------   5/10/2000   12:53PM         321,296 bytes   Dns.exe				

NOTE: To start your computer before you apply this hotfix, you may need to choose the Last Known Good option when you start your computer.
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article. This problem was first corrected in Windows 2000 Service Pack 2.
A Windows 2000-based DNS server stores zone configuration information in the following registry key:
ISP-type organizations could potentially create enough zones to cause this to happen. The limit is typically greater than 7000 zones, but this is dependent on the length of the zone names and how much other data is stored in the System hive.

After you apply the hotfix, the zone information resides in the following new registry key:
Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DNS Server\Zones
The Software key does not have the same size limitations as the System key.

When a new zone is created and the current number of zones is greater than 200, all zones are migrated from the CCS key to the new Software key. The zones are deleted from the CCS key if the migration is successful. The default value of the following key is set to indicate the new zones location to aid administrators in finding the new zone key:
After you apply this hotfix, all zones are stored under the Software key.

Article ID: 259930 - Last Review: 10/20/2013 19:15:28 - Revision: 2.2

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

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