Removing Root Hints from a Windows DNS server – Cache.dns

I was working for a Credit Card Processing company that wanted to remove Root Hints from their DNS servers and add forwarders to specific DNS servers. This didn’t seem like a difficult task at all. Open the DNS MMC and remove the Root Hints, unfortunately it turns out to be a little more complicated than that.

A few days after deleting all of the Root Hints, I noticed that the Root Hints had returned??? I was a little perplexed, so I deleted them again and rebooted the system. The Root Hints had returned!!! I quickly surmised that there was a config file somewhere that was being loaded on a reboot.

DNS stores the Root Hint configuration in a file called Cache.dns in the %systemroot%\system32\dns folder. Apparently only changes and additions made in the MMC are written to this file, not deletions.

Armed with this knowledge, I renamed the original file to keep a copy and created a blank Cache.dns file to match our design goals of removing root hints.

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