Install and Promote a Server as Read Only Domain Controller (RODC)


In a distributed network environment, a Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC) serves as an excellent solution to enhance security and improve performance in remote locations. By installing and promoting a server as an RODC, you can provide authentication and limited domain services while protecting sensitive data. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of installing and promoting a server as an RODC, ensuring your website ranks higher in search results.

Step 1: Understand the Benefits of a Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC)

Before proceeding with the installation, it’s crucial to grasp the advantages of using an RODC:

  1. Enhanced Security: An RODC mitigates security risks by limiting the data stored on the server, protecting sensitive information in remote locations from unauthorized access.
  2. Bandwidth Optimization: RODCs reduce network traffic by caching user credentials and frequently accessed data locally, improving authentication response times in remote sites with limited bandwidth.
  3. Centralized Administration: While RODCs allow for local authentication, administrative tasks can be performed from a central location, providing consistent management across the network.

Step 2: Plan Your Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC) Deployment

Effective planning is essential for a successful RODC deployment. Consider the following factors:

  1. Determine the Remote Site Requirements: Assess the network infrastructure and performance requirements of the remote site where you plan to install the RODC. Ensure it has adequate power, cooling, and network connectivity.
  2. Choose the Deployment Method: Decide whether you want to install the RODC from scratch or convert an existing Domain Controller to an RODC.
  3. Consider Local User Management: Determine whether the RODC should have the ability to manage local user accounts or if it should rely solely on the central Domain Controller for user authentication.

Step 3: Install Windows Server Operating System

To install Windows Server as your Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC), follow these steps:

  1. Obtain the Installation Media: Download the latest version of Windows Server installation media from the official Microsoft website or an authorized distributor.
  2. Boot from the Installation Media: Insert the installation media into your server’s DVD drive or use a bootable USB drive. Restart the server and configure the BIOS to boot from the
  3. installation media.
    Install Windows Server: Follow the on-screen instructions to install Windows Server. Choose the appropriate edition and provide the necessary information during the installation process.

Step 4: Promote the Server as a Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC)

To promote the server as an RODC, perform the following steps:

  1. Open Server Manager: Launch the Server Manager application on your Windows Server.
  2. Add Roles and Features: From the Server Manager dashboard, click on “Add Roles and Features” to initiate the installation wizard.
  3. Select Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS): In the installation wizard, choose “Role-based or feature-based installation” and select your server from the server pool. Then, select “Active Directory Domain Services” as the role to be installed.
  4. Install Required Features: Review the features required for AD DS and proceed with the installation. The wizard will prompt you to install additional features necessary for the Domain Controller functionality.
  5. Configure Additional Domain Controller Options: After the installation, click on “Promote this server to a domain controller” in the Server Manager. Select “Add a domain controller to an existing domain” and provide the necessary credentials to connect to the central Domain Controller.
  6. Select Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC) Option: In the deployment configuration, choose the option “Read-only domain controller (RODC)” to promote thethe server as an RODC.
  7. Specify Forest and Domain Settings: Provide the necessary forest and domain details, ensuring they are user friendly and relevant to your organization.
  8. Review and Complete the Wizard: Review the summary of your selections and click “Install” to begin the promotion process. The server will restart automatically after the promotion is complete.

Step 5: Validate and Test the Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC)

After promoting the server as an RODC, it’s essential to validate and test its functionality:

  1. Verify Replication: Use Active Directory administrative tools, such as Active Directory Users and Computers, to verify replication between the RODC and the central Domain Controller.
  2. Test Authentication: Create test user accounts and ensure they can successfully authenticate against the RODC. Verify that only permitted data is stored on the RODC.
  3. Monitor Performance: Keep an eye on the RODC’s performance in terms of authentication response times and bandwidth utilization. Make any necessary adjustments to optimize its performance.


By following this step-by-step guide, you can successfully install and promote a server as a Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC), providing enhanced security and optimized performance in remote locations. Implementing an RODC infrastructure offers several benefits, such as improved security, reduced network traffic, and centralized administration, making it a valuable addition to your network architecture.

Ashutosh Dixit

I am currently working as a Senior Technical Support Engineer with VMware Premier Services for Telco. Before this, I worked as a Technical Lead with Microsoft Enterprise Platform Support for Production and Premier Support. I am an expert in High-Availability, Deployments, and VMware Core technology along with Tanzu and Horizon.

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