Friday, August 28, 2015

Active Directory - domain controllers in different languages

Can we have (in the same domain) domain controllers with an OS in different languages, for example some in English and some in French?

This question is asked from time to time on Technet forums:

Compatibility in AD between Polish and english

Domain controllers with different OS languages

Many companies, large and not so large, are often multinational and staff members, IT personnel included, may speak different languages. Some administators, regardless of their mastery of English, may prefer a management interface in their native language.

I've installed two Windows 2008 domain controllers, one in English (DC3) and one in French (DC4). In the following lines, I'll present some of my observations.

As far as translation of the interface, on the French domain controller, the primary Active Directory interfaces are all translated, for example:

  • Active Directory Sites and Services (ADSS) becomes "Sites et services Active Directory"
  • Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) becomes "Utilisateurs et ordinateurs Active Directory"
  • Active Directory Domains and Trusts (ADDT) becomes "Domaines et approbations Active Directory"

On the other hand, some elements retain their English names:

The ADUC interface is more interesting. All the elements retain their English names (except the folder "Requêtes sauvegardées" for "Saved queries"):

Yet... I am sure these names are normally localized (in this case, translated into French).

My explaination: if the first domain controller is in a particular language, certain replicated elements will retain the original language, even on localized domain controllers.

Indeed, in a solely French environment, most of the user names are indeed translated into French:

What about some of the common Active Directory commands, repadmin for example?

The output is localized:


C:\>repadmin /showrepl

Repadmin: running command /showrepl against full DC localhost
DSA Options: IS_GC
Site Options: (none)
DSA object GUID: 75a4a675-5ee2-40c6-b693-718d57461eeb
DSA invocationID: 75a4a675-5ee2-40c6-b693-718d57461eeb


C:\>repadmin /showrepl

Repadmin : exécution de la commande /showrepl sur le contrôleur de domaine complet localhost
Options DSA : IS_GC
Options de site : (none)
GUID de l'objet DSA : 58d00eef-a083-47a5-9cf7-d854ac13bf79
ID de l'invocation DSA : d6e3c414-ab12-4d71-a3bc-135aba5ac84c

Otherwise (and even though there is not much to replicate in my very simple test environment), replication functions just fine between domain controllers with different language versions.

What if I create a user on DC3? Once replication takes place, what do user properties look like if I examine them on DC4?

The various properties are all translated into the localized language (French, in this case):


All in all, we can conclude:
  • Domain controllers with different language versions can function together.
  • Certain Active Directory objects will be replicated with the names in the language of the first server promoted to domain controller status, even on domain controllers using another language.

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