Confusion on adding a secondary domain controller.

Occasional Contributor

I have server 2016 installed on a VM and I am doing an Active Directory course. I have installed Active Directory onto the server to create a new forest. Now a secondary domain controller must be added and this is where I am stuck.


The video instructs to open Server Manager and navigate to the top where there should be an exclamation mark in the notification area and the option to "Promote this server to a domain controller". In my Server Manager I do not have the exclamation mark nor an option to promote this server to a domain controller. 


The tutor says " You have to create a second server to move forward." Does this mean that I need to install Server 2016 on another VM with another installation of Active Directory? Is that my second server or am I missing something that can be done from within the first server? Thanks.

5 Replies

Yes, you'll need to stand up a second instance of windows server, patch it fully, join existing domain, add active directory domain services, then the last step would be to check the notification area for 'Promote this server...…….." (this of course is a ten thousand foot view of process) You could also follow along here.



I am brand new to this forum and can see clearly how to reply and search threads, but not how to ask a new question or start a new thread. Boy do I feel stupid.  Any help?

No, not at all stupid. I also find this community is not all that intuitive. 
Select an appropriate Community (Join), from this link

then select an appropriate Space, then near top left of page should appear a button for Start A New Conversation

@Dave Patrick


I still don't fully understand how this works but I will install Windows Server on a second Virtual Machine, install and set up Active Directory and then join it to the "existing domain". I think the idea here is to have two separate Active Directory installations running joined to the same domain, so one is a backup. Does that sound about right?

Windows active directory provides for a multi-master model. One would always want to have at least two domain controllers for high availability and disaster mitigation.