What is my best solution to upgrade from NT4 to Windows 2003 Active Directory?

I have a NT4 environment and we're looking to move to 2003 Active Directory.  We do not wish to 'upgrade' our PDC but to add a 2003 AD server and migrate NT over slowly.  (Though Microsoft said its the safest when , we just don't like the idea that the server was upgraded rather than freshly built.)  Any suggestions?

I attempted to add a 2003 AD server to my test lab - only to find it requests for a NetBIOS name.  I would like to continue using my old NT4 domain name but it does not allow this.

What other options do I have to build a 2003 AD without touching our current NT environment?  Many thanks and I hope you are not as confused as I am!)

jklnyAsked:
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Chris_PicciottoCommented:
Not a problem -

I have done many migration projects and it really depends on your existing infrastructure.

I don't see the real issue. What are some of your conserns?

It is always best to install AD in a prestine environment. What i have done many times is create an AD domain using a 2000 or 2003 server and then create trust realtionships between the domains. I then can choose to use the ADMT tool to move or copy users but i find that many networks have very f**ked up directory services and things. It is always best to decommision old objects and clean up the source domain first so that there is less to do later. Planning is a must. I try and create the users from scrach after i have created all of the groups that i think are necessary and all of the templates used for creating accounts.

This of course depends if you have more services running like Exchange or SQL
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marc_nivensCommented:
You can get away with upgrading your PDC, because transferring that role to a freshly installed DC is done easily enough.    Everyone has their preferences on how to do things, here's one way:

1.  Relocate LMRepl, take a BDC offline and store it in case of disaster recovery
2.  Set NT4Emulator key on PDC, upgrade PDC, setup DNS, install Active Directory
3.  Create Site replication topology, Verify DNS setup
4.  Upgrade remaining BDC's, Raise domain functional level

There are of course many small steps I've left out, mainly because the URL below goes into much greater detail.  Once your migration is finished, you could easily dcpromo up some fresh DC's and decomission the upgraded ones without any impact to your AD.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/prodtechnol/windowsserver2003/proddocs/deployguide/dssbe_upnt_huxa.asp


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