Active Directory: Check & Raise Domain, Forest Functional Level

With each new version, Windows Server adds new features. Active Directory Domain Forest Functional Levels determine which features can be used within each system. There exists a simple way to check Forest Functional Levels and Domain and these steps are in this tutorial.

Did you know? Windows 10 is Microsoft's latest OS. There are many new tips and tricks that you can learn to improve the user experience.  Read: Windows 10 Tutorial.

What is an Active Directory Domain?

Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) stores directory data and manages communication between users and domains, including user logon processes, authentication, and directory searches. An Active Directory domain controller is a server that is running AD DS.
Did you know? In Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003, the directory service is named Active Directory. In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the directory service is named Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). The rest of this topic refers to AD DS, but the information is also applicable to Active Directory.

What are Forest Functional Levels?

A forest is a collection of one or more domains which may have one or more trees. What makes a forest unique is that it shares the same schema. The schema defines what and how Active Directory objects are stored.

Tree

When you have multiple domains in the same namespace (e.g., ITFreeTraining.com, west.ITFreeTraining.com, and sales.ITFreeTraining.com), they are considered to be in the same tree. The tree also supports multiple levels of domains. For example, you could have west.sales.ITFreeTraining.com and east.ITFreeTraining.com in the same tree.

Forest

A forest is a collection of one or more domains which may have one or more trees. What makes a forest unique is that it shares the same schema. The schema defines what and how Active Directory objects are stored. The schema defines the database for the whole forest but it should be remembered that each domain in the forest has its own copy of the database based on the schema.

Trusts

Parent and child domains are automatically linked by a trust. Users in different domains can use these trusts to access resources in another domain assuming that they have access. Trees in the forest are linked together via a trust automatically. This ensures that any users in any domain in the forest can access any resource in the forest to which they have access.

Global Catalog

In order for users to find resources in any domain in the forest (remember that each domain has a separate database), Domain Controllers can be made into Global Catalog Servers. A Global Catalog Server contains partial information about every object in the forest. Using this information, the user can conduct searches.
Did you know? There is an easy way to Repair MDAC WIN XP SP3MDAC or Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC; also known as Windows DAC) is a framework of interrelated Microsoft technologies that allows programmers a uniform and comprehensive way of developing applications that can access almost any data store. Read more about it here.

How to Check Domain and Forest Functional Level

  1. From the “Administrative Tools” menu, select “Active Directory Domains and Trusts“.
  2. Right-click the root domain, then select “Properties“.
  3. Under the “General” tab, the “Domain functional level” and “Forest functional level” is displayed on the screen.
Active Directory: How to Check Domain and Forest Functional Level

Active Directory: How to Check Domain and Forest Functional Level

How to raise Active Directory domain and forest functional levels

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