naming context in Active Directory

Definition of naming context in Active Directory in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is Naming Context in Active Directory?

A contiguous subtree or branch of Active Directory in Microsoft Windows 2000. Naming contexts are used to partition the Active Directory namespace into sections, each with its own security boundary. You use naming contexts during the process of directory replication to form the basic unit of the replication process.

Active Directory always includes at least three naming contexts:

  • Configuration:
    Contains information about sites, services, partitions, and the Active Directory schema


  • Domain naming:
    Contains information relating to directory data for the domain in which the Active Directory domain controller resides


  • Schema:
    Contains the schema information that defines the classes, objects, and attributes used in Active Directory


During multimaster replication of Active Directory, any naming context that has been updated is replicated to other domain controllers. For example, if the schema is modified on one domain controller, the schema naming context is replicated to all other domain controllers in Active Directory and also to the global catalog server. Only those portions of the naming context that have changed are actually replicated.