PDC emulator is not excluded from DSAccess topology

by Nuno Mota [Published on 29 Feb. 2012 / Last Updated on 29 Jan. 2012]

When running the Exchange Best Practices Analyzer Tool [ExBPA] you will probably get the following warning: “PDC emulator is not excluded from the Active Directory (ADAccess) topology”.


This is because it is recommended to exclude the Primary Domain Controller [PDC] from the list of DCs available for use by Exchange.


By default, DSAccess includes the PDC emulator computer in its list of available and usable DCs. If non-Exchange Server programs are making heavy use of the PDC emulator, Exchange can worsen this situation or even suffer from it.


To prevent such performance issues, the MinUserDC registry value can be added to the registry on an Exchange server to force DSAccess to query all other available DCs before querying the domain controller that holds the PDC emulator operations master role.


To create/update MinUserDC registry value:

1.       Open the Registry

2.       On a computer that is running Exchange Server 2010, locate the following subkey:

HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchange ADAccess\Profiles\Default\MinUserDC


On a computer that is running Exchange Server 2007, locate the following subkey:


3.       Locate the MinUserDC value and make any required changes. If this DWORD value does not exist, you can manually create it.



Note: The value for the MinUserDC registry entry is the maximum number of DCs to contact before contacting the PDC emulator. For example, setting MinUserDC to 4 configures DSAccess to exclude the PDC emulator only when a total of 4 DCs are available. When this condition is met, the PDC emulator is excluded from use and DSAccess communicates only with the remaining 3 DCs.



Another way to configure the DSAccess component to exclude a particular DC or a list of DCs from use is by using the Set-ExchangeServer cmdlet together with the -StaticExcludedDomainControllers parameter:


Set-ExchangeServer "server" -StaticExcludedDomainControllers "pdc.domain.com"

Get-ExchangeServer "server" -Status | Select Name, StaticExcludedDomainControllers


However, please note that the MinUserDC key will still allow Exchange to use the PDC Emulator if the other DCs/GCs go offline but the static exclude list will not!

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