How to Manage Zentyal PDC (Primary Domain Controller) from Windows System – Part 2

This tutorial will demonstrate how you can access and manage your Zentyal Server Development Edition as a Primary Domain Controller from a Windows Based System using remote software on a Windows Computer.

Zentyal PDC (Primary Domain Controller) almost perfectly imitates a basic Windows Active Directory, which means you can set up users and groups, file sharing, add new domains or new records in your DNS server, and set up Group Policy Setting for all users and computers that are actually integrated into Active Directory.

Making very easy for you to manage security for a large number of accounts and computers while doing this with just one basic license for a Windows Computer (you will never have to buy or touch a Windows Server license).

Requirements:

Step 1: Integrate Windows System in PDC Domain

1. Logon with administrator local account and go to the left side on the taskbar and click right on the network icon, then Open Network and Sharing Center and click on Ethernet.

Windows Network Sharing Centre
Windows Network Sharing Centre

2. Go to adapter Properties and select IPv4 and then select Properties.

Windows Network Properties
Windows Network Properties

3. Setup your own network connections address, netmask, gateway, and DNS ( Make sure that your first DNS here is the Zentyal PDC IP address).

Windows Network Settings
Windows Network Settings

4. Click OK and the Close on all windows. Now it’s time to see if the network configurations are the correct ones and everything works fine. Right-click on Start -> Command Prompt and try to ping your domain.

Warn!!: If you cannot see the correct IP address of Zentyal PDC. Open a Command Prompt(Admin) and enter the following command.

ipconfig/flushdns

And then try to ping “tecmint.com“. You should also try the “nslookup” command to see the domain IP address.

Check PDC Domain
Check PDC Domain

5. Now open the “This PC” shortcut and go to System Properties -> Computer Name -> Change.

Enter a Computer Name ( try something more descriptive like WIN10_REMOTE_PDC) and your domain name in the Member of Domain field, hit Enter, enter your Administrator username and password ( In this case on my previous tutorial I have set up on Zentyal PDC the user “ravi” with administrator powers).

Add Windows to Zentyal PDC
Add Windows to Zentyal PDC
Zentyal PDC Admin User Login
Zentyal PDC Admin User Login

6. After your credentials are verified by Samba on Zentyal Server you will be prompted with a success notify, then reboot your system to be able to join and logon on to a domain.

Windows Added to PDC Domain
Windows Added to PDC Domain

7. After reboot on prompt enter: domain_name\Administrator username and password.

AD User Login
AD User Login

Step 2: Manage Remote Zentyal PDC from Windows System

Now that everything is correct and working is time to install the software needed to remote access Zentyal PDC Samba Server.

8. Open a browser and go to Remote Server Administration Tool for Windows 10 and download Windows flavor (x64 or x86) drivers, save it to your computer and run it.

Install Remote Server Administration Tool
Install Remote Server Administration Tool

9. After this piece of software is installed reboot and then go to Control Panel –> System and Security –> Administrative Tools and select Active Directory Users and Computers, Group Policy Management, and DNS and Send all three as a shortcut to Desktop.

Add Administrative Tools to Desktop
Add Administrative Tools to Desktop

10. Now let’s try a remote connection to the DNS server over Zentyal PDC and add a CNAME for zentyal. Open DNS and enter FQDN (fully qualified domain name) for the Zentyal PDC server as in the screenshot below.

Connect to DNS Over Zentyal PDC
Connect to DNS Over Zentyal PDC

11. Go to your PDC FQDN, select your domain name, and add New Host.

Add New Host
Add New Host

12. Go and add a new CNAME and then try ping your new alias.

Add CNAME Host
Add CNAME Host

13. As you can see the result the CNAME smb for pdc.mydomain.com has been successfully added to Zentyal Server and is completely functional.

Now open a browser and point your domain name address of PDC server address ( https://192.168.0.128:8443 ) then go to DNS Module and add new forwarders ( I choose my default gateway and a Google Public DNS, you choose what better suits your needs).

Add DNS Forwarders
Add DNS Forwarders

14. Then add a new alias for your domain, this time added from Zentyal Web Interface. Click on Alias, Add New, enter alias name (CNAME) end then hit ADD.

Add New Alias
Add New Alias

15. Hit on Save Changes for the new setting to apply and go back to Windows 10 DNS and check if the record has been updated.

Check CNAME Host
Check CNAME Host

16. Zentyal DNS Server and DNS Remote Software are fully operational from both sides so we can now add as many records as we need to our DNS server.

Now is time to play with Users and Groups, Open Active Directory Users and Computers, navigate to your domain name, select Users and add a New Group.

Enter your Group Name and select Distribution in Group Type ( selecting Security will allow Administrative rights and we don’t want this for our user) and Global in Group Scope and hit OK.

Create New Group
Create New Group

17. Then navigate to Users and Add a New User, complete the required fields, set up a password for this user – even force the user to change the password on the next login.

Create New User
Create New User

18. Now back to Users and Computers Module –> Manage. We can see that our anusha has been created on the Zentyal PDC server and we can now integrate him into one of our Groups. Let’s say Allowed_Users Group.

Check User Creation
Check User Creation

19. Now let’s try to add a New User from Zentyal Web Interface. Select Users, go to the green "+" button, select User again and enter your credentials for this new user.

Add New User
Add New User

After the user is created you can integrate him into a group (optional).

20. And now go back to Windows Active Directory Users and Computers and verify if the new ronav is a member of Allowed_Users Group.

Check User Details
Check User Details

21. You also have a lot of tweaks for setting users like in a real Windows Server (change passwords on logon, enter a telephone number, address, change profile path, etc ).

Change User Details
Change User Details

22. As the last configuration for this tutorial go to Domain Module on Zentyal Server and check “Enable roaming profiles” for your users to have access to documents and settings, have the same desktop experience to any computer they logon on your domain.

Enable Roaming Profiles
Enable Roaming Profiles

23. The server keeps roaming profiles under the “/home/samba/profiles” path so you can navigate to this path for remote administration by using a command-line program like Putty or WinSCP.

Samba User Profiles
Samba User Profiles

24. By default Zentyal uses sudo for root privilege security. So if you want to enable a root account on the server download and install Putty on your Windows system and connect through SSH using the server’s IP address or domain name.

To enable root account to connect through ssh with username and password created on system installation and then type next command “sudo passwd“, enter and confirm password (this will help you later for complete administrative tasks on a Graphical User Interface connecting through WinSCP.

Download Putty on Windows
Download Putty on Windows
Putty Linux Connection
Putty Linux Connection

25. To set up Group Policy on Users and Computers just click on the Group Policy Management shortcut that earlier was created on Desktop.

Windows Groups Policy Management
Windows Groups Policy Management

Now you have full remote administrative access to your Zentyal PDC services: DNS, Active Directory, Users and Groups, Group Policy, Local system access through command line or GUI, and remote web access through https protocol from a Windows-based system.

Post Scriptum

This experiment was done using a local private network with internet access through NAT, the domain name has been chosen randomly (any resemblance with a registered domain is Purely Coincidental) and the node machines were installed using virtualization software such as VirtualBox.

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17 thoughts on “How to Manage Zentyal PDC (Primary Domain Controller) from Windows System – Part 2”

  1. Thanks for this really great tutorial.

    I’ve been using this for almost 2 months now but just recently I am not able to edit or add users in Active Directory Users and Computers.
    Whenever I do right click to any user then go to properties, all I got is “This user is a member of the following COM+ partition set.

    I can add and edit users in zentyal though.

    I hope you can help me..

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Verify time settings on both systems. If time difference between systems is greater than 5 min you might experience odd problems. Also, leave the realm, reboot and join the domain again.

      Reply
  2. Wonderful and a very simple and descriptive guide. Helped a lot and worked as a charm for me. I just wonder if using this kind of setup in a commercial environment would invite Microsoft license trouble to me????

    Expert’s opinions please

    Thank you

    Reply
  3. Thanks for giving me this wonderful information, although i have 1 problem, i can’t find groups folder in Active Directory User and Computer, but when i tried to search the group name from menu find , i can find the group i want. Please, need your help. I’m using Administrative tools in windows 7 32 bit

    Reply
  4. Hello there!

    Fantastic tutorial. Thank you !
    I have the same problem as the user above:
    CNAME the smb done with Microsoft RSAT not see Zentyal web interface
    CNAME made ​​the samba GUI shown .

    DNS interface of RSAT can see both …

    Think r be any order (kind of rebuild) to push the graphical interface made ​​RSAT recognize something that is there ?

    I installed server is 3.5
    And the operating system that I put RSAT is Windows 7 Enterprise

    Thank you !

    Reply

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