The Case of Multiple DCs Logging Event 1168 Internal Error: An Active Directory Domain Services Error Has Occurred



AskPFEPlat is in the process of a transformation to the new Core Infrastructure and Security TechCommunity, and will be moving by the end of March 2019 to our new home at (hosted at Please bear with us while we are still under construction!

We will continue bringing you the same great content, from the same great contributors, on our new platform. Until then, you can access our new content on either as you do today, or at our new site Please feel free to update your bookmarks accordingly!

Why are we doing this? Simple really; we are looking to expand our team internally in order to provide you even more great content, as well as take on a more proactive role in the future with our readers (more to come on that later)! Since our team encompasses many more roles than Premier Field Engineers these days, we felt it was also time we reflected that initial expansion.

If you have never visited the TechCommunity site, it can be found at On the TechCommunity site, you will find numerous technical communities across many topics, which include discussion areas, along with blog content.

NOTE: In addition to the AskPFEPlat-to-Core Infrastructure and Security transformation, Premier Field Engineers from all technology areas will be working together to expand the TechCommunity site even further, joining together in the technology agnostic Premier Field Engineering TechCommunity (along with Core Infrastructure and Security), which can be found at!

As always, thank you for continuing to read the Core Infrastructure and Security (AskPFEPlat) blog, and we look forward to providing you more great content well into the future!


Hello Everyone, my name is Zoheb Shaikh and I’m a Premier Field Engineer out of Malaysia. Today for my first post on AskPFEPlat, I wanted to share something interesting with you that I came across recently caused by a KRBTGT_RODC account deletion.

Before I talk more about the issue, I would like to share a bit of background about KRBTGT account and its use briefly. I could try to explain what the krbtgt account is, but here is a short article on the KDC and the krbtgt to take a look at:

“All instances of the KDC within a domain use the domain account for the security principal “krbtgt”. Clients address messages to a domain’s KDC by including both the service’s principal name, “krbtgt”, and the name of the domain. Both items of information are also used in tickets to identify the issuing authority. For information about name forms and addressing conventions, see RFC 4120.”

Likewise, a snip for the RODC krbtgt_##### account:

“The RODC is advertised as the Key Distribution Center (KDC) for the branch office. The RODC uses a different krbtgt account and password than the KDC on a writable domain controller uses when it signs or encrypts ticket-granting ticket (TGT) requests. This provides cryptographic isolation between KDCs in different branches, which prevents a compromised RODC from issuing service tickets to resources in other branches or a hub site.”

The krbtgt_##### account is unique to each RODC and minimizes impact if the RODC is compromised. The RODC does not have the krbtgt secret. It only has its own krbtgt_##### secret (and other accounts you have allowed). Thus, when removing a compromised RODC, the domain krbtgt account is not lost.

Getting back to the scenario, the customer had multiple DC’s running 2012 R2 and 3 Read Only Domain Controllers (RODC). We observed that the writable DC’s were flooded with the Event IDs 1168 stating “Internal error: An Active Directory Domain Services error has occurred”. They were not experiencing any functional loss because of this, but were worried about the h`ealth of the Domain Controllers.

Log Name: Directory Service
Source: Microsoft-Windows-ActiveDirectory_DomainService
Date: 6/2/2017 3:18:01 AM
Event ID: 1168
Task Category: Internal Processing
Level: Error
Keywords: Classic
User: Contoso\contosoRODC$
Computer: ContosoDC.contoso.local
Internal error: An Active Directory Domain Services error has occurred.
Additional Data
Error value (decimal):
Error value (hex):
Internal ID:

So we asked, what changes have been made recently?

In this case, the customer was unsure about what exactly happened, and these events seem to have started out of nowhere. They reported no major changes done for AD in the past 2 months and suspected that this might be an underlying problem for a long time.

So, we investigated the events and when we looked at it granularly we found that the event 1168 was coming from a RODC:

Keywords: Classic

User: Contoso\contosoRODC$

Computer: ContosoDC.contoso.local

Then we checked one of the RODC’s and could not see any reference to these. So, we turned up the Active Directory Diagnostics to 5 and saw an event Id Event 1084. (Refer blog for enabling Active Directory Diagnostic logging

Event ID: 1084

Internal event: Active Directory Domain Services could not update the following object with changes received from the following source directory service. This is because an error occurred during the application of the changes to Active Directory Domain Services on the directory service.


CN=krbtgt_37540\0ADEL:1gc5th4-88yy-4194-th65-avf12a8621324,CN=Deleted Objects,DC=contoso,DC=local

Object GUID:


Source directory service:


From this error, it was clear that this was caused by krbtgt_RODC account deletion and the customer said that they may have run a script to delete Disabled accounts.

So, we proposed below options to resolve this issue

  1. Restore the KRBTGT_RODC account from Active Directory Recycle Bin if it was enabled.
  2. Restore the KRBTGT_RODC account from a System State backup
  3. Demote and repromoted RODC as KRBTGT_RODC account is unique for each RODC

To reproduce this error in lab we followed the below steps: –

  1. Promoted a RODC in the environment
  2. Changed the attribute ms-ds-krbTGT-Link Removed the user (cn=krbtgt_37540,dc=contoso,dc=com) “key distribution center for service account > Put the value to <not Set>

  3. Once done checked events and it gave us the same event (1168)

  4. Added the ms-ds-krbTGT-Link value back to KRBTGT_RODC account and the event stopped coming.

If you have a RODC in your environment, do keep this in mind. Thanks for reading, and hope this helps!