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Migration from NT to Windows 2003

Posted on 2003-12-03
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Last Modified: 2010-04-14
I administer a rather small network, 4 servers. 1 PDC, no BDCs, Exchange 5.5, and a file/print server running on Windows NT with about 140 users.

I would like to migrate to Windows 2003 with the least interuption to daily activities. The PDC runs WINS, DHCP, and DNS.

I have new servers that don't support Windows NT.

What would be the best path to migrate? Change the PDC to Windows 2003 first? Or create a seperate doamin and migrate users over?
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Question by:ScottCL
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Expert Comment

by:JConchie
ID: 9871287
No need for the complications of a separate domain and migrating.  Upgrade your PDC to Window 2003, and promote it to be a DC, which will upgrade your domain structure from NT to W3K.  Make sure your DHCP and DNS are running properly...change the DNS to Active Directory-integrated.   Then set up your other new servers and join them to the W3K domain.........promote at least one of them to be your second DC.......an AD domain with only one DC is asking for trouble....if you lose it, you lose your whole AD structure......with two, you still have a full replica of your AD.

I would also look at upgrading your workstations to at least W2k Pro, if not XP

Make sure you understand DNS...it is essential to W2K/W3K operations.

If you need more detail, just ask.
Good Luck
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by:JConchie
ID: 9871310
Note:  If you have a couple of new server boxes running W3K, once you get one or both of them up as DCs, you can demote the old NT4 PDC back to a member server (transfering DNS, DHCP and Wins....which I would still run, even though MS says you don't needit.........to the new DC) and then retire it if you want.
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by:JConchie
ID: 9871328
The only better way to go here is if you had a second NT box that you could make a BDC......then you would do the upgrade on it and ensure that all your user accounts etc from NT4 has come across to W3K Ok, before promoting the PDC.  That way leaves you with an intact NT4 structure in case your W3K setup goes bad....which is possible, but unlikely.......as I say, ask if you need more info.
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Author Comment

by:ScottCL
ID: 9871406
Will Exchange 5.5 still run if I do an upgrade?

So I could take an old desktop and install NT on it as a BDC. Promote it to a PDC and do the upgrade to a DC. Then take the new server and install Win2k3 on it and make it a DC. After the replication occurs, transfer server roles to the new server and take the old desktop offline. Then take the original PDC which is now a BDC and transfer the WINS, DHCP setting to the new Win2k3 server?
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JConchie earned 750 total points
ID: 9875174
Exchange 5.5 will run on W3K.......the rest of:
"So I could take an old desktop and install NT on it as a BDC. Promote it to a PDC and do the upgrade to a DC. Then take the new server and install Win2k3 on it and make it a DC. After the replication occurs, transfer server roles to the new server and take the old desktop offline. Then take the original PDC which is now a BDC and transfer the WINS, DHCP setting to the new Win2k3 server?"
is exactly the way I would go about it.
If you can also manage an upgrade to Exchange 2003 or even to Exchange 2000, it will be worth it I think......much easier to manage in terms of admin......better features, including a better Web Access setup.......Intranet messanger and chat modules........though be sure of your Lan bandwidth before you let your users loose with that.
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Expert Comment

by:JConchie
ID: 10044471
Answered....in more detail than asked for! :-)
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Expert Comment

by:daveb21
ID: 10268717
Ive been trying the exact same procedure in a testlab and found a couple of things that you might wanna lookout for. (Procedure is upgrade PDC from NT4 to 2003, then install new 2003 server and make it a 2nd AD Server).

The primary 2003 server (upgraded from NT4) didnt have full dns setup correctly. Had to install Support Tools from CD and then run netdiag /fix to add missing entries to DNS Server (otherwise new 2003 server couldnt find AD server during dcpromo wizard).

Secondly i tried to migrate my DHCP server configuration from the 2003 upgrade server to the new 2003 server and it didnt work. The windows directory on the upgraded server is WINNT whereas on the new server it is WINDOWS. Therefore when you try to restore the DHCP config on the new 2003 server (backup taken from upgraded 2003 server) it fails because it cant find certain DHCP related directories (such as backup, audit log etc) under WINNT. Doh!!

So i'll probably have to re-setup the DHCP again unless anyone has any ideas - im going to do some research and see what i can find. Im also researching how to transfer the DNS from the upgraded server to the new server so i can decommission the upgraded (old NT4) server. Any ideas welcome - again ill be doing some research on this.
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