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"How to?" Add a Windows 2003 server to a NT4 Domain?

Posted on 2004-04-30
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THis is my setup. I have two NT4 servers. The PDC currently is running Exchange 5.5 and primarily is doing all of the work. Shares, Access databases, Exchange, and also my common files. I want to bring down the old PDC and add the new server. I don't want to frig things up... thus my posting. I understand the promote and demote PDC and BDC thing but not fully. Before removing (Unplugging) the BDC do I need to do something in user manager? Hopefully this is enough information to get you started.

Thanks Greg
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Question by:comeaug
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by:JammyPak
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you said you have 2 NT 4 servers...where does the 2003 come in?

you can't have a 2003 domain controller in an NT 4 domain. not possible...

if you want to replace the existing PDC, install a new NT 4 server as a BDC. Then, using Server Manager, promote that BDC to be PDC. The existing PDC will automatically demote to a BDC, and you can then put it out to pasture. Don't take it down while it's still PDC.

Once the server's been demoted to BDC, you can just shut it down. (and then remove the computer account from server manager)
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by:JamesDS
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comeaug
If all you want to do is take down an old PDC then JammyPak (loving that name) is correct:

if you want to replace the existing PDC, install a new NT 4 server as a BDC. Then, using Server Manager, promote that BDC to be PDC. The existing PDC will automatically demote to a BDC, and you can then put it out to pasture. Don't take it down while it's still PDC. Once the server's been demoted to BDC, you can just shut it down. (and then remove the computer account from server manager)

If you want to build a new Windows 2003 server and join it to the domain it will only be a member server and not a domain controller.

If you want to upgrade your domain to windows 2003 Active directory then that is a whole new ball-game:

Build your new server as a Windows NT4 BDC
InPlace upgrade this to windows 2003
take down your old NT4 DCs gracefully and remove their accounts
Build another new Windows 2003 box as another DC and replicate
Take down the first 2003 DC and rebuild it from scratch
DCPROMO newly rebuilt 2003 box and replicate
Gracefully take down second 2003 box and remove from domain

Elevate domain functional level to Windows 2003 native mode

Viola! a nice clean windows 2003 domain with all your old accounts an security but without any NT rubbish hanging about!

Cheers

JamesDS
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by:rhrowson
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Make sure that your clean build BDC is promoted first to PDC and then has time to replicate all the user data.

And before you do any of this plan - ie your Active Directory structure - naming convention - DNS. The more time you put in up front, the better the upgrade

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by:comeaug
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Currently I have 2 NT4 servers on my domain. After the transition I will still have two server on the domain One is going out to pasture (The existing BDC). My new server which is not yet configured is the Windows 2003 server (Hoping to make it the PDC). The existing PDC is a NT4 server with Exchange 5.5 (hoping to demote this to BDC) When finished... if possible I would like to have the 2003 server running the Exchange 5.5

Now the question...... what is the best way to add the Windows 2003 server to my Domain and make it work. I am not a network guru nor a NT4 geru so speak fairly plain to me please.

Thanks!

Greg
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by:rhrowson
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Buy another server.

Install NT4 on it (with all of its patches) as a BDC. Promote it to PDC and give he server time to replicate. Install Windows 2003 on it, and then Active Directory. You will need to let it install the DNS service.

In a ideal world, I would buy a second server to build as a second DC (and with the current price of hardware, this is not unreasoanble), and a third as a new Exchange server.

Once your two DC's are built, promote the Doamin to W2K3 native mode. Insatll Exchange 2003, Migrate Users to it, and then you have all of your structure migrated.

There are  a number of fairly horrible ways to do this, which will probably cuase more trouble down the line. Unless you have vast hardware requirements, you could probably purchase the three servers for less than £3k.
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by:JammyPak
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unless you want to do an Active Directory implementation, don't use 2003 - keep it NT4. If you want to upgrade the whole domain to 2003, then you'll need to spend some time learning AD and planning your OUs, sites, GPOs, etc.
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by:comeaug
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One problem.... I have allready purchased the Windows 2003 server. It is sitting here ready to go. There must be an easier way to make this run smooth.
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by:rhrowson
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Migrating a domain is never what I would call easy.  BUild your W2K3 server as a member server.

On you fastest NT4 server, make it hte PDC and give it time to synchronise. Check ALL of its hardware will work under W2K3. Take the other BDC off line. This is your roll back device in case it goes horribly wrong.

Let the new DC bed in, and then run dcpromo on your new server. Let this onew bed in, and then rebuild any other BDC's from scratch, that you want to upgrade, to W2K3. Raise the domain functionality level to Windows 2003.

Once the domain is in native mode, satrt planning youe exchange migration.

There was an article in FYI magazine on this:

http://download.microsoft.com/download/7/0/0/700e4bd6-73df-4876-8a42-3ef6420f31f4/FYI-magazine-Jan_2004.pdf
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