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3 Forests - only 2 in Network Places

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  • 3 Forests - only 2 in Network Places

    This is driving me insane - has been for weeks now. We have 3 forests here in our network, each with one domain (not my design - but I have to live with it now) - Lets call them Forest A B & C.

    Forest A is Windows 2000 native Domain Functional Level (2003 & 2000 DC's)
    Forest B is Windows 2000 native Domain Functional level (2003 DC's)
    Forest C is Windows 2003 Domain Functional level (2003 DC's)

    All three forests are Windows 2000 Forest Functional Level

    From anywhere in Forest A - Network Places shows Forests A & B but not C
    From anywhere in Forest B - Network Places shows Forests A & B but not C

    Neither Forests A nor B show up in Network Browse from Forest C

    There is a two way external trust between A & B - Verified
    There is a two way external trust between A & C - Verified

    From Forest A - I can \\servername to any server or workstation in Forest C
    From Forest C - I can \\Servername to any server or workstation in Forest A

    The problem is - no matter what I do when I open Network Places I cannot see C from A or A from C.

    I have DNS Forwarders in each of the forests to the other forests. I can ping any domain from any domain by FQDN - I also installed WINS trying to figure out why this doesn't work. All domains have entries in WINS.

    I need to be able to see all forests in Network Places for several of our custom applications to work correctly. One of our mainstream applications is also affected by this and is very important to us to get working. Numara's TrackIt! 9 can see two of the three forests (A & B) so can therefore audit those two forests for hardware & software for our inventory, but it can not see Forest C.

    Does anyone think this is due to the functional levels being different? I don't want to just "try" changing the levels as these are irreversable changes. I have tried a multitude of things I found googling over the past month all to no avail. I really need to get this working.

    Any other ideas anyone may have to make this Forest appear in my other two forests - Please - I am willing to try just about anything at this point.

    I tried to give relevant info above, but if anyone has questions - I can provide more detail if necessary.

    Thanks to anyone who may reply - I really do appreciate the help.

  • #2
    Re: 3 Forests - only 2 in Network Places

    AFAIK network browsing has nothing to do with domain or forest functional levels or DNS. The population of Network Neighborhood and/or My Network Places is built around NetBIOS and browse lists. I would check your WINS again. Does each forest have it's own WINS server?

    You could try setting up a central WINS server(s) in forest A and tell all forest A, B, and C clients to use it.

    The only thing in my experience that comes close to your configuration is an old NT 4 domain spread across multiple locations. Network browsing was sketchy until we set up central WINS servers and configured the hosts at each location to use these WINS servers.

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    • #3
      Re: 3 Forests - only 2 in Network Places

      Actually that is exactly how I have WINS setup - it is in Forest A only and Forests C & B register with that Wins server in Forest A.

      Tomorrow - I am going to try to setup WINS in Forest C also - I don't think this will matter - but it is worth a shot. I can always take it back down again.

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      • #4
        Re: 3 Forests - only 2 in Network Places

        How are these forests connected at the physical level? Are they on the same LAN? Do they connect via a WAN connection? Is there a site-to-site VPN between them? Anything in a firewall somewhere that might be causing problems (blocking ports 137, 138, 139, or 445)? Do you have NetBIOS disabled on any of the hosts in any of the forests?

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        • #5
          Re: 3 Forests - only 2 in Network Places

          They are on 3 separate vlans that have connectivity between them. The servers exist in the same data center - no firewalls between them, multiple ports on the same switch with vlan access setup for each of the networks.

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