Swapping Windows NT Server With Windows Server 2003 Small Business Server

Posted on 2005-04-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-03-18
I frequently install servers for small businesses with Windows Server 2003 Small Business Server.  In doing so, I have to replace the present server which is typically Windows NT Server 4.0 or Windows 2000 Server.  So far, the quickest way for me to replace the server is to match User Accounts, File and Printer Shares, IP Address, Domain Name, login script, etc. - then copy all files off the old server to new server.  I then remove the old server off the network and promote the new server to the Domain Controller.  My downfall in this process however is that now I have to go around to each of the workstations and rejoin each workstation to the domain.  I have tried matching the Computer Accounts in use on the present server with the new server but to no avail.  This problem appears to occur in Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server as well as Windows Server 2003 (I recently had to upgrade an existing server that was running 2003 with another server that was running 2003).  I may be wrong, but this problem does not appear to be related to Active Directory.  It would appear that the workstations are looking for a SID perhaps rather than an IP or another identifying value.  Am I on the right track?  Or can someone point me to a better way of swapping servers.  I am not attracting to the Microsoft way of demoting/promoting servers.  I'd rather simply take the old server off the network as soon as possible.  My question then is this - if there is an identifying value that I need to match on the new server - can I copy this value with a tool somehow?  Or is there a better way that I could be swapping servers?
Question by:comsource
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Expert Comment

ID: 13700209
Well because you are migrating to SBS instead of to a standard version, you become very limited due to the restraints of SBS. If you were not using SBS then it would be a lot easier.

Since with SBS you must create a new domain, to my knowledge, there is no way around having to re join the computers to the new domain.

When doing say an NT migration/upgrade, the two best ways is to

1.do an upgrade...take the new box, install nt on it, promote it to a pdc, and then upgrade it to 2003...but you can't do this with SBS.

2. Do a migration and use the ADMT (active directory migration tool) or other similar tool to migrate accounts, etc...but the ADMT (and I think the others do as well) require a TRUST between the old and new domains.

But neither of these methods will work with SBS due to its limitations.
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Expert Comment

ID: 13700305
Actually, you can try this tool to copy over data more easily...i think it'll work with SBS:


But since its a new domain, you've got to re-join the comptuers to it....

Author Comment

ID: 13703829
I'd like to keep this question open - I have a feeling there is a more creative solution to this problem.  It is hard for me to believe that Microsoft would intend for this to be such a complicated/time consuming processing - but alas I shouldn't be surprised by Microsoft anymore after administrating Microsoft networks for last ten years.  I am holding out hope though that someone has a manner of "tricking" the workstations into thinking the new controller is the old controller - so I don't have to manually rejoin the computers to the domain in any manner.
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Expert Comment

ID: 13706294
You may want to post a 20 pointer question in the windows server 2003 topic to attract some more attention to this question.
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Expert Comment

ID: 13706458
Ok, i think I have an answer for you. Seems ADMT will work on SBS....it just works in a different way (ya learn something new everyday). It uses pass through authentication (you have to have the same admin password on both servers).

Here is the guide you need:


Author Comment

ID: 13872883
Actually, the correct answer I discovered is to:

1.  Copy the data from the old controller to the new server.
2.  Make the new server a domain controller using the same Computer Name, IP Address and Domain Name as the previous domain controller.
3.  Take ownership of all the Data files.
4.  Recreate the users.


5.  At a user comptuer, remove the computer from the domain and then rejoin the computer to the domain.  Reboot.
6.  At the user computer, login as the user who uses that particular computer.  Then, logout.
7.  Reboot and login to the Local Computer (Not Domain) as Administrator.
8.  Open Explorer and change View so you see All Hidden Folders and All Hidden Operating System Files, etc.
9.  Go into the original C:\Documents and Settings\(Username) folder and do a Select All/Copy.
10.  Then go into the new C:\Documents and Settings(Username) folder and do a Paste - Overwriting All Files.
11.  Go into Users and make the User: (Username) member of Administrators (on the Local Computer)
12.  Logout and login as the user and you will find that all of their data files, preferences, background wallpaper, etc., etc. are exactly as they were in their original Profile.

Now how do I close this question?  (It's always the easiest things that are the most complicated...)

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