It’s always interesting to see a hot topic emerge for an established technology like DFS (aka DFS Namespaces). We’ve seen this question come up in our DFS_FRS newsgroup, on internal discussion aliases here at Microsoft, and from our early adopter customers testing Windows Server “Longhorn.” Often reported as a bug, the customer swears it used to work and wonders whether it’s the DFS service or the client that’s causing the problem.
As it turns out, typing \domain.com was never intended to display all domain-based roots in the domain. Instead, typing \domain.com results in DNS sending the client the IP address of any domain controller (DC) for the domain (based on records registered for the domain zone). So, your client will be directed to a random DC, and once there you’ll see a list of shares stored on it, such as SYSVOL, as well as any domain-based roots hosted on that DC. If there are no domain-based roots on that particular DC, then you won’t see them, thus the inconsistent list of roots. To make the list of roots consistent, you need to host the same domain-based roots on every DC in the domain.
Although we consider this “by design,” we’re not saying it’s the best design. Allowing \domain.com to return a list of domain-based roots in the domain is something we’re considering for a future release.