How to Configure Windows Server 2016 as a Global Catalog Server Using PowerShell

In this blog post, I’ll show you how to configure a Windows Server 2016 Domain Controller as a Global Catalog Server using PowerShell.

Global Catalog Server

An Active Directory Global Catalog Server is a Domain Controller that holds a copy of all the object in the forest.

When using a single Active Directory Domain Forest, it’s recommended to configure all the domain controllers as a global catalog server.

In an Active Directory environment where a few multi-domain forests exist, we should not configure the server that holds the Infrastructure Master as a global catalog server.

If using a multi-domain environment, the GC will hold a read-only copy of all the Domains.

In my case all my domain controllers running on Windows Server Core 2016 without a GUI, therefore, I’ll use PowerShell.

Get Stated

To complete this, I’m logged in to my DC as a Domain Administrator and run the cmdlet below just to check the current configuration.

As you can see below, VDC02 is not a GC and I’ll configure it next.

Get-ADDomainController -Filter * | select -Property name,isglobalcatalog

To configure VDC02 as a Global Catalog Server, I’m using the cmdlet below.

Set-ADObject -Identity (Get-ADDomainController vdc02).ntdssettingsobjectdn -Replace @{options='1'}

I could also, revert the change by setting 0 in the options.

Now, when I run the first cmdlet again, VDC02 will appear as a Global Catalog Server.

Get-ADDomainController -Filter * | select -Property name,isglobalcatalog

Conclusion

My recommendation here will be to configure all Domain Controllers as a Global Catalog Server for better performance.

Many organizations use Global Catalog Servers is in remote sites where all requests can be handled by the local GC and not passing it to other sites over the WAN.

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