In-place upgrade of Win NT 4.0 Server to SBS 2003

Posted on 2005-03-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-19
Hi.  I have a small office that is running Win NT 4.0 Server with Exchange 5.5 and about 10-12 users.  We want to upgrade to Small Business Server 2003 but our server is fairly new so we want to use the same machine.   I know I can't just upgrade from NT 4.0 Server to SBS 2003 so I was thinking of first upgrading to Win2KSmall Business Server and then upgrading to SBS 2003.  The only issue is that I don't have Win2K SBS and I don't want to have to purchase it just for a temporary step!


1) If I just wanted to do a clean install of SBS 2003, how do I save all of the exchange info (user mailboxes, public folders, etc.) so that I can import into Exchange in SBS 2003?

2) Is there easier way of doing this that I am not thinking of?

3) I accidentally got the OEM version of SBS 2003.  Does that support upgrading?

Question by:dcheest
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 13492996
You can do it without having to buy extra software...

You need to get the Migration Toolkit for starters though: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/upgrading/nt4/tooldocs/msfsc.mspx

The File Server Migration Toolkit provides the following benefits:

Simplifies the complex and error-prone migration process
Maintains UNC paths and eliminates broken shortcuts and links
Maintains security settings after the migration
Consolidates shared folders with the same names from different servers
Supports server clusters as source and target file servers
Provides roll-back functionality


White Paper:

Windows Server 2003: Scalable File Server Consolidation

I hope this helps you out...

LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 13493006
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 13494616
You won't be able to upgrade in place without problems, and the OEM version doesn't support upgrades, as it is only valid on new hardware.

there is a great guide on SBS4.5 to SBS 2003 here, uses ADMT to transfer User & computer accounts, groups and includes SIDS so no messy profile and permission issues. Exchange data is transferred via the exchange migration wizard that is in-built.


The hardware is going to be a problem, and there is little we can do to help there...

Optimize your web performance

What's in the eBook?
- Full list of reasons for poor performance
- Ultimate measures to speed things up
- Primary web monitoring types
- KPIs you should be monitoring in order to increase your ROI


Author Comment

ID: 13498935
Lazarus98:  Thanks for your answer but I'm not sure if you understood my situation.  I need to do in in-place upgrade on the same machine so I can't use the File Server migration toolkit you suggested.  That appears to only work from an old machine to a new replacement machine (a "Migration" vs. an "Upgrade").

Author Comment

ID: 13498998
harleyjd:  Thanks for your response.  I don't really have the option of purchasing a new server and doing a migration as that is a bit beyond our budget (especially when the current server is fairly new).   As far as I can see my only options are

A) upgrade to W2K SBS and then upgrade SBS 2003 (getting a retail version instead of my current OEM version)

B) Save exchange info (save mailboxes as PST files on client machines, export public folders and contacts, etc.) and do a clean install of SBS 2003.  I would then have to manually recreate users, join them to the new domain, and then restore their mailboxes.

Does this seem about right.  Is there a tool for backing up exchange mailboxes?

LVL 20

Assisted Solution

Lazarus earned 600 total points
ID: 13500507
dcheest: yes, I did misunderstand your intent, I'm sorry. I personally do not know of any way to upgrade the system the way you want it done, with out some severe drawbacks. The problem being that when you upgrade to SBS is that it is going to wipe out your AD. Beacuse it wants to start it's on. from scratch.

You can go to MS and downlaod some new tools they have for exporting AD info then importing them back to the new Server setup.

Thank ObDa for these links...

The new command-line tools for Active Directory in Windows Server 2003

How To Use the Directory Service Command-Line Tools to Manage Active Directory Objects in Windows Server 2003

Good luck either way here.. Hopefully some nice person will come along and give you some more info here to help you out.
LVL 15

Accepted Solution

harleyjd earned 1400 total points
ID: 13501612
What about, and this will be messy, building a temporary server to new hardware, use ADMT to move the accounts and SIDS as described, use EXMERGE (part of the Exchange toolkit on the CD) to move out all the mailboxes. Copy the data to the temp server or to tape.

Trash the nt4.0, build is as SBS2003, admt the accounts back in to the new server, exmerge the data back in, and then copy (or restore) the data back to the server...

It sounds messy, but having the SIDS line up will make things much easier, I promise...


Author Comment

ID: 13508243
Thanks for all of your help.  I think harleyjd has the right answer.  I had sort of arrived at this conclusion on  my own last night but I am really glad to have someone confirm that it is a good idea and to remind me of exmerge!

So my final solution will be:

purchase new hard drive and stick in a temporary machine
load NT 4 server on temp machine
make temp machine a BDC and exchmerge all exchange mailboxes
promote temp machine to PDC and have it take over mail server role
trash current server and reload with SBS 2003
use admt/exmerge to migrate accounts from temp server to SBS 2003
migrate clients to new server
pull out hard drive on temp machine and replace with original

Thanks for all your help!  Looks like I have a great weekend ahead of me!!!

LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 13513642
yeah, that's better.

I assumed the main server was SBS, so you'd need the double ADMT, but your plan is much better, and will save you issues later...

thx for the points...

Featured Post

Industry Leaders: We Want Your Opinion!

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

The HP utility "HP Lights-Out Online Configuration Utility for Windows Server 2003/2008" could be of great use when it comes to remotely configure a HP servers ILO WITHOUT rebooting the server. We would only need to create and run scripts using thi…
A quick step-by-step overview of installing and configuring Carbonite Server Backup.
NetCrunch network monitor is a highly extensive platform for network monitoring and alert generation. In this video you'll see a live demo of NetCrunch with most notable features explained in a walk-through manner. You'll also get to know the philos…
This tutorial will teach you the special effect of super speed similar to the fictional character Wally West aka "The Flash" After Shake : http://www.videocopilot.net/presets/after_shake/ All lightning effects with instructions : http://www.mediaf…
Suggested Courses

764 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question