Backup Active Directory / Upgrading help

Posted on 2004-11-18
Last Modified: 2010-04-14

I am getting ready to migrate my server from Windows 2000 Server to Windows 2003 SBS. I have a small setup which is limited to 15 users. This is my first time trying to backup/restore AD so I would like some advice.

Rather than "upgrading" my current installation of Windows 2000 server to the new 2003 SBS, I would rather backup my active directory, FDISK the OS drive (a have all the data on a seperate drive), and install the Windows 2003 SBS. Once the installation is complete I would like to restore the AD so that I don't have to recreate the users, groups, etc. and re-assign permissions on the file system, etc. All this needs to happen in the same box.

My first question is if this is actually feasible. In the worse case I can recreate all the object manually, but I would rather not. If somehow I can restore everything back into the new OS, how would I go about doing this? (and how would I back it up?)

Unfortunately I procrastinated on this one -- I am going to attempt this over the weekend, so prompt responses would be greatly appreciated.


Question by:crystalusa
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    I think you're asking for WAY too many problems if you try that and I'm 99% sure it won't work.  Active Directory has enhancements in 2003 and it's needs to be UPGRADED.  I would do a system state backup and a full backup on your current system, then do the upgrade.

    Author Comment

    To further complicate things for me, the computer I am refering to is a PDC. I also have another box running Windows 2000 Server that acts as a secondary domain controller and hosts my Exchange Server 2000.

    Also, from what i understand I have even more problems:

    1. Windows 2003 SBS won't handle PDCs so I need to demote my current PDC and SDS.
    2. Due to hardware resources I need to keep exchange on the second box, but since Windows 2003 SBS brings Exchange 2003 bundled, I would install it on the second box (the one that used to be the secondary domain controller)

    So how painful is this whole thing going to be?

    Thanks again,

    LVL 23

    Accepted Solution


    This isn't possible... First off all, you cannot upgrade from a standard version to an SBS version, which rules out that option.. Second off all, the only way to backup an AD is to do a System State back-up. This back-up can only be restored to the original server (not even another 2000 standard edition server) because of SID's and other stuff... So this cannot be done..

    The only option you would have is to create a CSV file to export and import users. But for those 15 user i would strongly advice you to recreate them..
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    Posted a bit to late...

    This is going to be rather painfull.. You cannot have more than one SBS DC (there aren't any BDC's and PDC's within W2K) within one domain.. This means the other machine can best be a member server (you could add it to the new domain you create after installing the SBS machine) within the new domain.

    After that, you must disable Exchange on the SBS server and install Exchange on the other server, this should do the trick..

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