Merging NT 4.0 accounts into a Windows 2000 Domain Controller

Posted on 2005-04-25
Last Modified: 2010-04-13

I have an existing NT 4.0 PDC (NT4 SP6a).  It has been up and running fine for a very long time. I have another system with Windows 2000 Server SP4 installed.  I am ready to run dcpromo on that system to make it a domain controller, but it will NOT use active directory.  Basically, this Win2k SP4 computer is going to replace the NT 4.0 system as the PDC.

I wanted to know how I can 'merge' all of the existing NT user accounts (with passwords) from this NT 4.0 PDC to my new Win2k SP4 server system.

Thanks in advance for your time and help!
Question by:pugdog_fan
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    It WILL use Active Directory.  There is NO OPTION in this.  There is also no PDC or BDC in 2000.  The only way to merge the accounts, INCLUDING the passwords, is to upgrade the NT4 system to 2000.
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    It's your choice to use the features of Active Directory, but if you have a 2000 system handling logons, then you ARE using Active Directory.  You don't have to put it in Native mode, you can leave it in Mixed mode.  But you'll need to use Active Directory Users and Computers to manage the computer and user accounts and groups.
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    To be clear, 2000 uses 5 Operations Masters, in short known as the FSMO masters.  One of them is the PDC EMULATOR.  See:  But make no mistake, this IS Active Directory.
    LVL 9

    Assisted Solution

    First of all if you run dcpromo on a w2k server you install AD and second yes you can migrate accounts. The way you can do that is to first install NT on your new machine make that machine the PDC in your domain and at the same time your old PDC will become a BDC. Take your old PDC now BDC offline, remove net cable, and upgrade your new PDC to w2k. When you know that all is OK and running you can decide what you want to do with your old server. My recomendation is that you upgrade that one to to w2k DC so that you will have some redundancy in your network. As a side remark in w2k there is no PDC or BDC all DC's are equal (almost except FSMO roles).
    LVL 95

    Accepted Solution

    joedoe - let's be clear here, this is not migrating accounts.  This is upgrading to Active Directory.  You have described - in breif without providing the Microsoft instructions, one of the recommended methods of upgrading to Active Directory.

    If you are going to upgrade, you should start here

    Another method of upgrade not suggested by Joedoe is to install another system with NT4.  Make it a BDC.  Then pull it off the network.  The reason you do this is so that if there are any problems, you can pull off the Active Directory DC and plug in the new (even temporary) BDC you pulled off the network, then promote it back to PDC and have a working NT4 domain again. So basically, the disconnected BDC is for backup purposes only.  And of course, you could also take some disk imaging software and image the existing PDCs hard drive.  Then put it back if you need to (no need for another server).

    But you really should read over the upgrade documentation first.  KEY to a successful upgrade is to have a functioning and correctly setup Dynamic DNS (DDNS) server.  Otherwise, you'll have problems.


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