Troubleshooting Active Directory replication

Replication should occur automatically. When it doesn’t, the best solution isn’t just to force Active Directory replication, but to check out the topology. If the replication topology has become unstable or misconfigured, it needs to be corrected before initiating a manual replication procedure.

The Knowledge Consistency Checker (KCC) creates the replication topology used for intra-site replication automatically. Rather than creating a full mesh for replication, the KCC designs a topology where every DC has at least two replication partners and is no more than three hops away from any other DC. With such a topology, every DC can be fully updated with as little as three replication cycles.

The REPAdmin tool from the Windows Support Tools and Resource Kit can be used to check the topology. The command “repadmin /showreps” runs on a domain controller and produces a list of replication partners as designated by the KCC. To check the topology, verify that every DC lists at least two replication partners and that all named partners see each other as partners. For example, if Server A lists Server B and C as partners, then both Server B and C should list Server A in return as a partner. If you discover a problem or inconsistency in the topology, use the KCC to regenerate the topology.

Once you are sure the topology is correct, then and only then should you force Active Directory replication.

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