Definition of RootDSE in The Network Encyclopedia.

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What is RootDSE?

The object that resides at the top of the directory hierarchy in Active Directory in Microsoft Windows 2000. RootDSE is the root of the logical namespace for Active Directory and is the top of the search tree for accessing Active Directory using the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). The RootDSE object is specified in Request for Comments (RFC) 1777.

How It Works

The RootDSE object is located in the Directory System Agent (DSA) within the directory service module ntdsa.dll, which is part of the security subsystem in Windows 2000. The RootDSE object is a container object and has a Configuration container that is used to store configuration information for the enterprise network. The Configuration container contains the various naming contexts for Active Directory. (A naming context is a contiguous subtree of Active Directory and forms a unit of information for replication purposes.) These naming contexts include the following:

  • Partitions naming context:
    Identifies the partitions of the enterprise network


  • Schema naming context:
    Contains all types of classes and attributes for objects stored in Active Directory


  • Services naming context:
    Acts as a central storage place for network-wide configuration information


  • Sites naming context:
    Stores information about the sites, domain controllers, and replication topologies used throughout the enterprise



You can view the RootDSE object by using the Active Directory Object Browser. Choose Run from the Start menu, type adsvw to start the Object Browser, and then enter the following LDAP Uniform Resource Locator (URL):