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Upgrading WinNT4 domain to Win2k

Posted on 2003-02-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-13
I have a single NT4 PDC. One way I can upgrade to Win2k domain is to install on a new machine NT4 server, promote it to PDC, and upgrade it to 2000 server. Is there another way to upgrade without taking current PDC offline? Is it possible to install a new win2k member server and then promote it to domain controller?
Question by:leks

Expert Comment

ID: 7992251
The problem with what you suggest is that the current PDC of an NT domain has to be the first to be upgraded to W2K, anything else just doesn't work. TO be honest with you the best bet is to create an entire new domain and then migrate your current domain over to it. Upgrading from NT4 does generally work fine but you are left with a load of dross afterwards that you don't generally need and just lose disc space.
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Expert Comment

ID: 7992284
I disagree--I think the NT 4 PDC approach has the advantage of leaving all your existing systems pretty much unaffected by the change. You don't need to take the existing PDC offline, anyway--if you install a new NT4 machine and make it the PDC the old PDC will be automatically demoted to a BDC; this approach has the huge advantage that, if you make a mistake, it's possible to simply remove the Win2K server from the domain and promote the BDC back to PDC to restore your original system. (This only ceases to be possible once you convert your Active Directory domain to "native mode" rather than "mixed mode", which shouldn't happen until you've upgraded ALL your old NT 4 machines).

Expert Comment

ID: 7994138
I think it depends how many users you have. I built our win2k servers in a new domain as tampauk suggested, and then migrated the 65 users in our NT domain to it using the migration tools without any major problems.

If you're talking a lot of users, then maybe the upgrade path is right for you.
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Expert Comment

ID: 7999725
Pjknibbs does have a good point in that if you make a mistake you can always go back. The way I worked was to creat a Ghost image of all my NT4 servers before taking them offline, wiping the drives and building the W2k system one server at a time. I had an advantage that I could migrate my user data easily as it was held on a SAN. I successfully migrated 10,000 user to a Windows 2000 domain in a week, with no downtime.

Expert Comment

ID: 8000966
If you can get another nt 4.0 server, have it join your domain as a bdc, sync with pdc and then take the bdc offline. Upgrade the pdc to a win2k dc, this keeps the system policies and user accounts will then be stored in the user container.  If anything goes wrong with the installation you can always take the upgrading pdc offline, bring back the bdc and it will automatically promote itself to pdc.  

Author Comment

ID: 8004578
Is it possible to install a new win2k member server and then promote it to domain controller?

Accepted Solution

JBharrat earned 150 total points
ID: 8006636
it is, but if you want to create a win2k domain by upgrading the pdc to win2k dc, AD installation will automatically take place.  You can however have a member server join the domain and then install AD to make it become an additional DC.  The role of Domain Controllers are not established during the installation of the O/S like nt 4.0 (unless you specify the parameters to install AD in and unattended text file) If you want to create a new domain with new accounts then you can use the member server then install AD.  If you choose to migrate the users from the nt domain to the new Win 2k domain then you will have to use ADMT

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