How to Check Which Domain Controller You Are Connected To

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You can check the IP and name to find out which domain controller you are connected to.
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The domain controller is a critical security feature of Active Network in Windows. The Domain Controller serves the purpose of authenticating the user for access to the network. It essentially approves the login when entered correctly. A few common issues can arise within the domain controller process, but they are often quickly resolved by checking the name and IP of the domain controller used.


Identify Access Issues

Accessing information and resources on the domain should be a quick and seamless process. When access stalls or fails, however, it may be an issue of communication against the wrong site. The solution here is running a command prompt to discover which site the domain controller is using for the connection.

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Domain controllers are essentially servers that manage user access and requests while organizing all users and information on the network. This only keeps things organized but also creates a record of access and security protocol to manage the domain. Domain controllers use a hierarchy for organization, and system administrators can use the record to see what IP addresses are accessing the network and making requests across the network.


The ability to list authenticated users on a domain controller makes it easy to track and access information. A bank, for example, has secure servers, and the domain controller tracks every user interaction. The system administrator can use this information to manage access while controlling and protecting the network.

Find Domain Controller CMD

Checking which domain controller is being used is a quick and easy process. Click the Start feature and choose Run to open the command prompt. On newer versions, press Windows-Q to launch the apps screen and type cmd.exe into the search bar. Press Enter, and the command prompt launches.


Type nslookup and press Enter. Then type set type=all and press Enter. Lastly, type _Idap._tcp.dc_msdcs.Domain_Name and enter your domain name rather than the actual end string text. Press Enter to discover the domain controller currently being used. This method is simple, but it is not the only means of looking up the domain controller.

The domain must be entered correctly for this or any other lookup method to work correctly. Without an exact match domain in the equation, a domain controller result does not return.


Set Command and nltest

Two alternative methods use the Set Command or nltest to access and identify the domain controller. Both are simple and only require a few steps using the command prompt. To begin, open the command prompt using the same method previously described.

Type set l and press Enter to run the command through the prompt. Scroll through the returned information until you locate LOGONSERVER. View the adjacent text to see how the domain controller is authenticated. For ease of use, this is a great approach.


The last method is the nltest command, which is also painless to execute. Start with a fresh command prompt and enter nltest/dsgetdc:[FQDN] but replace the FQDN characters with the appropriate domain for the system. Again, use an exact match domain to retrieve the correct information. Press Enter to run the command and read the results until you locate the DC information and the domain controller used.