New root domain possible for existing AD domain?

Hello!  First-time user.  Hope I'm doing this properly.

Let me first layout our situation, then I will pose the question:

I have a mixed-mode domain in Dallas which we will call  This domain was previously all NT4.  When the PDC was upgraded, the mistake was made to designate as the root domain.  I now know from reading other questions on this site that we should've first created a new domain with new hardware and designated it as just, then upgraded the existing domain.  Too late, so sorry.

Now, we also have a "sister" company in New Hampshire who was also running an NT4 domain with a two-way trust to our domain.  Both of their domain controllers were upgraded to Windows 2000 and they were nestled into our existing namespace as  I hope no New Hampies will be offended by that unintentional slight.

On a side note, just in case my upcoming question will be adversely affected by this, we have two Exchange 5.5 servers.  One resides on a member server in the domain and provides email for users in the domain.  Why?  I don't know.  It was that way when I got here.  Our other Exchange server resides in a wholly different yet trusted domain (a resource domain in the DMZ) which we will call  This server provides email for the users.  I will no doubt have more questions for this forum when we upgrade to Exchange 2000, which I've been told to have underway VERY soon.

Now the question:  Can I create a new domain, with new hardware, containing only domain controllers, and designate it as the root domain, then somehow have the other subdomains "merge" into that root domain?  I know that .NET will provide a namespace renaming tool, but we're light years away from that.

Or, if you have a better solution, I'm all ears.

Thanks in advance!
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yes you can, install the new server as a member server in the network and then "start > run > dcpromo" on the new one and make it the PDC.. next run dcpromo on the other win2000 servers and demote them to member servers..

The idea to put the mailserver for the domain at the headoffice is not a bad idea if you have the connection (speed) for it to the secondary office.. that way everything is centralized..

That should do the trick...

err.. typo

next run dcpromo on the OLD Win2000 PDC and make it a member server..
No you can't.

Renaming the namespace in AD is not possible until .NET arrives.

Following Goldwing's advice will still maintain the namespace

You will have to create the new domain and new forest and use ADMT to migrate objects after creating a two-way inter-forest trust. It's going to be a long process, but if you can run the new Domain in parallel you should be in for a relatively smooth switch.

As for Exchange you can move mailboxes to your new server using the Exchange migration utilities.

You'll likely need a pile of Aliases for mail until the domain switch is complete.

Hope this steers you in the right direction.

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jm3245Author Commented:

Thank you for the response.  I'm not much of a DNS guru, so will I be able to create the domain on the same DNS servers that house the domain?
You'll need to put up a server there in parallel with the new Domain structure in place.  Using ADMT you can move accounts over or just recreate them and have all the PCs rejoin the new domain.

What DNS are they using? Did they install MS DNS when creating AD or do they use a BIND server?

jm3245Author Commented:
They installed MS DNS directly on the PDC for  As long as you don't see any problems here, I'll go ahead and accept this as your answer.  I now have a related Exchange 2000 question I'll post next.  Thanks for the help!
Ok.   Another question - where is the zone being hosted?

It still might be possible to work with what you have if the root - is hosted there and empty.

Keep in mind that the AD namespace for your company should be different and isolated from the real-world DNS entries for your registered domain.  In other words, you could name your new solution idiots.local or get the picture.  This can be constructed in parallel with your existing structure and accounts can be moved over using various MS tools.  Alternately, you could just create new accounts and un-join the workstations from the old domain and rejoin them to the new - if you're using roaming profile, they must be copied to the new servers and available when the users rejoin the new solution.

DNS for your real domain should be hosted at your ISP and point to the web and email servers (if you run either).  Aliases are created in Exchange to map real domain name to internal namespace or you could set up a second UPN suffix for the accounts - Exchange will pick them up.

Unless your DNS is exposed to the internet - most do not do this, you'll be able to use forwarding to resolve stuff outside your own network.

Hope this helps.
jm3245Author Commented:
Well, I am a step ahead in that aspect. is a namespace known only behind the firewall and does not resolve to the public.  It's entirely for internal name resolution and AD integration.

We have an entirely different public domain namespace, hosted on our public DNS server, and have email aliases mapped accordingly.

Sounds like I have the info i need to get started.  Thanks for your help, Netman66.  I will accept your answer and move on from here.
jm3245Author Commented:
Thanks for helping the newbie!!!
Great!  Anytime.

It sounds like you've done some homework - I think you'll get through this just fine!

Hope I helped in some small way.

Good luck - enjoy the learning experience!

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