Install Zentyal as PDC (Primary Domain Controller) and Integrate Windows System – Part 1

This series will be titled Preparation for the setting up and managing Zentyal as PDC (Primary Domain Controller) through Parts 1-14 and covers the following topics.

Part 1: Install Zentyal as PDC (Primary Domain Controller) and Integrate Windows System

This tutorial will demonstrate how to use a Linux distribution, Zentyal, as a PDC ( Primary Domain Controller ) and integrate a Windows-based system in this Domain Controller.


  • Download Zentyal Server Development Edition 7.0.
  • A different computer that runs a Windows-based system to be integrated into the domain.
  • The domain used is a fictional one and runs on a local network only: “”.

Step 1: Installing Zentyal Server

1. Choose language.

Choose Zentyal Language

2. Choose an expert mode.

Install Zentyal Server Edition

3. Again choose your language for the installation process.

Choose Zentyal Installation Language

4. Choose your location. If your country is not listed in the default options choose Other, then select your continent and country: I’m in India so I choose India.

Choose Zentyal Country

5. Next configure your keyboard: I choose the English US keyboard.

Configure Zentyal Keyboard
Choose Zentyal Keyboard
Choose Zentyal Keyboard Layout

6. Next the installer will load components needed for configuring the system.

Zentyal Loading Additional Components

7. The next installer stage is to set the hostname for your system. You should enter here your FQDN. This is a test server so I choose “” ( Be aware that “pdc” will be this server and “” would be your domain for Active Directory ).

Choose Zentyal Hostname

8. Next choose a user for system administration ( This will be the privileged user with root powers – sudo ) not the user domain controller.

Set Zentyal User

9. Next type a password for the sudo user. Choose a strong one ( 9 characters at least upper&lower&numerical&special ). Here I choose a simple one because is a test server.

Set Zentyal User Password

10. Next it will ask you to re-enter your password and if you choose a weak one the installer will warn you about this fact. So select Yes and hit enter.

Confirm Zentyal User Password

11. Next step is configuring your time. If your system is connected to the Internet the installer will automatically detect your time zone. So press Yes if your time setting is the correct one.

Set Zentyal Timezone

12. Next screen is Partition Disks where you have four alternatives like in the images below. For better control over your system partition choose Manual and hit Enter.

Manual Zentyal Partitioning

13. Choose your HDD. In this setup, I’m on a Virtualbox virtual disk.

Choose Zentyal Disk

14. Next choose Yes and hit Enter.

Create Zentyal Partition Table

15. Configuring the Hard Disk Partitions. My HDD system config is the following.

  • 40 GB for / Partition ext4
  • 1 GB for swap area
  • 10 GB for /home ext4

On a real server, you should allocate more space for all of the partitions, even create a new one for /var partition. Now is the time to create a partition. Follow the steps. Choose Free space.

Choose Free Space
Set Size Partition
Set Partition Type
Set Partition Location
Root Partition Summary

Repeat these steps for /home and swap partitions too. The final disk layout should look like this. On the next to warn dialog choose yes and hit Enter again.

Zentyal Partitioning Table
Zentyal Partitioning Changes

16. The next stage on the installer is asking if you want to set up a Graphical Environment for Zentyal. If your server has a monitor and a keyboard attached to it then you should probably choose No ( This will install an LXDE GUI ) else choose yes ( you will control your system remotely using a web admin interface and ssh ).

Choose Zentyal Graphical Environment

17. Next your system starts installing.

Installing Zentyal System

18. On the next dialog just hit enter ( if you are accessing the internet through a proxy you should enter it now).

Configure Zentyal Package Manager
Configure Zentyal APT Mirror

19. Choose Yes for installing Grub into MBR.

Install GRUB Boot Loader

20. Next choose Yes for the next warning about UTC time.

Set Zentyal System Clock

21. And we reached the finish line. Press enter to continue and the system will reboot.

Zentyal Installation Completes

After rebooting the system will install some basic software and then it will prompt us for web IP administration.

Installing Zentyal Core Packages
Zentyal Login

Step 2: Installing Basic Softwares for PDC

22. Now it’s time to go to heavy stuff – meaning accessing web remote administrating tool and installing the basic software for the server to become a complete Primary Domain Controller (PDC) with samba4.

  • Next, open a web browser and type the address prompted in Zentyal ( for this example the web admin address is : ).
  • Next, the web browser will warn you about a security issue relating to the certificate.

23. Choose “Advanced” and then “Proceed” like in the screenshots below.

Zentyal SSL Warning

24. Then enter your user and password for the admin user ( the user-created on installation).

Zentyal Admin Login

25. We are now presented with the Zentyal Web Administration and it’s time to choose and install software for our PDC from Software ManagementZentyal Components and choose the following packages (modules) for the server to become a Primary Domain Controller.

  • DNS Service
  • Domain Controller and File Sharing
  • Firewall
  • Network Configuration
Installing Zentyal Components
Installing Zentyal Packages

26. Next, go to the SystemGeneral and set the Hostname and Domain.

Set Host and Domain Name

27. Now you should go to DNS Module and make sure that your domain is listed in the Domains tab.

Confirm Zentyal Domain Name

28. Then go to Users and Computers Module, select Manage and add a user with Administrator Privileges for Active Directory. Select Users, Click on the “+” button below, and enter your credentials.

Add Admin User in Zentyal

29. Now go to Domain Module, select Settings, choose a description for your server, select “Enable roaming profiles” and hit the Change button.

Zentyal Domain Settings

30. Now go top right and click on Save Changes for the system to apply your new settings and click Save.

Zentyal Save Changes

That’s it for now on the PDC server minimal configuration to become a Primary Domain Controller.

Step 3: Integrating a Windows System in PDC

It’s time to integrate a Windows-based system ( In this example a Windows 10 system) in the “” domain.

31. First let’s set up the network configuration for the system to be able to access the new domain. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center -> View Network Status and Tasks -> Local Area Connection.

On Local Area Connection select Properties -> IPv4 -> and enter your static IP, netmask, gateway, and DNS like in the screenshots below.

Configure IP Address in Windows

32. To be sure that everything is OK try first pinging your pdc server address and then ping the domain name.

Ping Zentyal PDC Domain

33. We now reach the end of this tutorial. Let’s finish the configuration by adding Windows 10 to the domain name. Click “Computer” -> System Properties -> Advanced System Settings -> Computer Name.

Enter your computer name in the Computer Name field domain in Member of Domain.

Add Windows to Domain

34. On the next prompt enter username and password for the Administrator User of your domain ( the user created in Users and Computer through Zentyal Web Interface).

Join Domain to Windows
Domain Joined

35. Next, restart your computer to apply changes and log on to your new domain.

AD User Login

36. Navigate again to Zentyal Web Dashboard and check if the Computer has been added to Users and Computers.

Windows Added to Zentyal

Congratulations! You now have a full domain service and you can easily add other windows based systems into your new domain.

The next tutorial will be on how to access your PDC server remotely from Windows-based systems, Create new Users and Groups, Create a Share, and set up Group Policy for this domain users and computers.

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41 thoughts on “Install Zentyal as PDC (Primary Domain Controller) and Integrate Windows System – Part 1”

  1. Please do not refer to any Samba AD DC as a PDC, it isn’t. A PDC is the Primary Domain Controller in an NT4-style domain. Whilst one AD DC will hold the PDC_Emulator FSMO role, this can be any AD DC, using terms such as ‘first’ DC can be used, but are a bit meaningless if that DC is later demoted.

  2. This works great but the only issue I’m running into is when a user tries to change his or her password from the windows computer, it says incorrect user/password. If that can be figured out, this will be really useful for me.

    • Maybe the passwords they enter don’t meet the security requirements for your domain. Provide more details? Can you change a user password from RSAT? What about from Zentyal panel?

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for these awesome documentation. Can we have integration of MAC machines with Zentyal documentation too.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. wants to know that is zyntel supports different os platform (Windows, linux and Mac)beacuse i have configured zyntel and configure some policys and it works in windows but it not works in mac and linux. if zyntel not supports the same then please suggest some open source tool so i can configure same

    thanks in advance

    • You can join differnet OSes to Zentyal pdc, but windows GPO applies only to Windows based workstations. I dont’t think there’s a windows GPO echivalent on Linux or mac.

  5. I followed every single step in it TO THE LETTER and Windows clients still refuse to join the domain. You will get it all set up (which takes hours to load and configure), only to attempt to join your client to the domain and get the error message: “The following error occurred attempting to join the domain ‘YOURDOMAIN’ The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted.” Zentyal is a complete failure and is totally unable to act as a Primary Domain Controller for Windows clients.

  6. Hey Matei Cezar, I am currently using Zentyal 4.2 as a PDC and able to connect Windows client. However, I am facing issues whilst pushing GPO’s to the multiple users/groups. I could see few settings are getting updated at the client end but most of the important ones are missing out; I have tried logging in with multiple ID’s on multiple system’s but no joy; I believe there’s a communication issue with Widows/Zentyal. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  7. @Rully: First of all the second computer must be joined to Zentyal PDC from an administrative account. What do you mean an existing account bla bla bla…it has importance all the displayed error message it shows you! It could mean that you have another computer with the same name on your network!
    How much NICs your server has? You must fill the external interface with all the required internet settings provided by your ISP, not jot the IP Address. (put IP, Netmask, Router (gateway) and DNS! You must also check the outgoing rules from firewall.

  8. Dear Matei Cezar,

    I need help please…I have install Zentyal 4.0 in my office server. And I try connecting the client to the server. I use my computer and it’s connected to the zentyal server. but when I use other computer it always said “The join operation was not successful, this could be because an existing computer account…bla..bla…could you please tell me what is wrong with that?

    And one more thing I have public IP from my Internet provider and I want to set the zentyal to be access remotely but when I fill in the ip number to the network setting on zentyal server why I still can’t go online and open a website on the browser.

    Please show me what is wrong…I need help. otherwise my boss will get angry with me. Thank you very much Matei Cezar.



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