migrating from NT 4.0 to Win2003 Server

Posted on 2005-05-14
Last Modified: 2008-03-03
I am migrating our NT 4.0 Server to Win 2003 and I have a couple of questions.  We will replace the NT 4.0 server (it is the domain controller/Exchange server) with Win2003 and Exchange 2003  I have read most of the articles here and on Microsoft, but when I am doing the initial setup do I have the new server join the domain and then become a PDC or set up the new server as if it were a typical new PDC and then just transfer the info?  I want to use the same domain name (we only have one) and was planning on using the ADMT tool to transfer the user information.  We are relatively small (50 users) but I am still trying to make this as painless as possible.

Question by:croberds
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    If you want to use the same name then you will need to upgrade.  When you perform an upgrade your PDC Emulator HAS to be the first of your NT domain controllers upgraded.

    Here are some great links to resources that will help you out further.

    Windows Server 2003 Upgrade Assistance Center

    How to Upgrade from Windows NT Server 4.0

    Upgrading Your Mail Servers

    LVL 14

    Author Comment

    It looks like the simpler solution will be to change the domain name.  We already bought the new server, plus the old NT server is on it's last legs.  When I did the domain controller wizard it prompted me to use mycompany.local which I did (we were just using mycompany with no extension) but now I am getting an error when I try to use the ADMT because I am not in native mode.  Should I raise to Windows 2003?  --it warns me that I cannot go back, once this is finalized we will put down the NT 4.0, but should I stay in mixed until I set up Exchange 2003 (not sure if I will have time to finish today and I still want everything running smoothly)?

    Thanks for the help
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    Hi croberds,
    > It looks like the simpler solution will be to change the domain name.  
    > We already bought the new server, plus the old NT server is on it's
    > last legs.  

    So, it's on it's last legs.  Why does that present a problem?  Install another machine with NT Server as a BDC.  Then promote it to PDC.  Then Upgrade it.  you never have to touch the old server.  Ideally, you'll install TWO BDCs so you can pull one off the network and keep it as your backup, JUST IN CASE.  Then upgrade the other to PDC and then 2003.

    Go ahead and use ADMT and what you have already, but it's going to be the more difficult, time consuming method with the greatest likelihood of problems for the users.

    Read over mkbean's links and check out this one as well:

    LVL 14

    Author Comment

    leew, thanks for the advice.  I am starting to think your solution may be better.  Let me give you more info to see what you think.  Once again we are fairly simple, but we use Citrix for remote users which can complicate things, and why I am now considering your solution.  Currently we have 2 Win2K Servers--one for Citrix and one is a SQL Server--and the old NT 4 which is the DC and has Exchange 5.5.  We have already purchased the new server (Dell) with Win2003 (installed) and Exchange 2003 (not installed).  

    I am thinking of using your advice and install another NT Server as a BDC, promote it and upgrade it to Win2003.  Then use the new Dell either as the BDC or PDC and Exchange server.  As you can probably tell I have not done this before, does this sound like the easiest solution?  Or could/should I use the Citrix server as a DC somewhere?
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    Personally, with only having 50 users I would start from scratch.  Create new accounts it would be a lot less problematic.
    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    By the way, in 2003, there is no PDC or BDC. Those terms are obsolete in windows 2000/03. All domain controllers are simply called DCs and are all considered equal. So you would either make the dell just a regular member server or you would make it another DC. :)
    LVL 14

    Author Comment

    Thank you all for the help.  Since I went ahead and started from scratch I gave the points to nytekgirl.  I have more questions but I will post them separately.

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