Windows Server 8 Beta and dumpReferences

Posted: 1st March 2012 by Christoffer Andersson in Uncategorized

Yesterday when I was researching the new Windows Server 8 Beta bits I did a discovery of a new operational attribute [1] – dumpReferences (that I haven’t seen documented anywhere)

So what does “dumpReferences” really do? It works similar to the “dumpDatabase” operational attribute, but instead it finds all none-linked (simple) references to a given objects [2] DNT (Distinguee Name Tag)

[1] List of operational attributes in previous Windows Server releases:

[2] If you want to know how DNTs work have a look at:

So how do you play with this?

Table 1: dumpReferences

LDIF Sample 


changetype: modify

add: dumpReferences

dumpReferences:<DN to dump references of>

Let’s try an example
We create two users with the following DNs:

  • CN=Lena Andersson,CN=Users,DC=wtf,DC=nttest,DC=chrisse,DC=com
  • CN=Elina Andersson,CN=Users,DC=wtf,DC=nttest,DC=chrisse,DC=com

Now set the “Se-Also” attribute on “CN= Lena Andersson,CN=Users,DC=wtf,DC=nttest,DC=chrisse,DC=com” to a value of “CN=Elina Andersson,CN=Users,DC=wtf,DC=nttest,DC=chrisse,DC=com”

Let’s dump the references to in the DIT to “CN=Elina Andersson,CN=Users,DC=wtf,DC=nttest,DC=chrisse,DC=com” now – I choose to do this with LDP.exe

Now go into the path where you store [3] the NTDS.dit database on the DC you executed the above operation against and you should find a “NTDS.ref” file open it in your preferred text editor and you can know see the DNTs of all object’s refereeing to “Elina” and by which attribute.

DNT: 4044 is representing the object of “Elina” itself as all objects references them self
DNT: 4047 is representing the object of “Lena” that is referencing “Elina” in the “see-Also” attribute

[3] You can find the path by looking at “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTDS\Parameters\DSA Database File”

I don’t see any value of this actually and maybe this is something left in this release for development and testing purposes so it might disappear in the final release – How did I find this one? Well that qualifies for a post by its own to explain all tests I perform on a new Windows build J