Replacing NT Server with Win 2003 Server

Posted on 2006-03-21
Last Modified: 2010-03-19
I want to remove my old NT server from my client-server network and replace it with a new Win 2003 server.  Can I keep my client settings (which are running XP Pro) the way they are, or will I have to change them?  I need to get some ideas so that I will know how to set up my Server.
Question by:chbarm
    LVL 10

    Accepted Solution

    Simple Answer, No.

    Create a new domain with W2k3, setup accounts, copy data from the old server, then remove clients from old domain and join new domain.

    - SaP -
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Just adding a comment....if you have a different domain name when bring your xp's down to workgroup (unjoin domain) and then join the new domain, you will end up with new settings...there are ways around this "user state migration tool" etc.

    Here is what you will end up with in the "Documents and Settings" directory...

    NT domain....

    chbarm.domain1 (profile)

    2003 domain

    chbarm.domain2 (new profile with new user settings)
    LVL 44

    Assisted Solution

    correction to first answer, you can migrate NT4 to 2003 if you follow microsoft approved process -

    If done right, it work fine, but to be 100% pure, once migrated to 2003, install 2003 clean on new server, then simply copy all accounts from migrated system to clean system.  Now you have both advantage, of clean 2003 install, and all accounts preserved.  But in end, NT4 not have muvh registry baggage, so if migration go well and all accounts preserved, likely system will run fine without any clean install.
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    Installing a new AD instance, creating new user accounts, joining computer to the new domain and migrating data isn't a fun task.  However, it depends how many PCs you're talking about here.  For say, less than 10 PCs, I'd go that route.  However, if you've got more I'd consider migrating to Windows Server 2003/AD.

    You could try and get Windows NT Server 4.0 on some new server hardware and upgrade it to Windows Server 2003, but that doesn't always prove easy.  Specifically, you might not be able to find drivers for RAID cards, NICs, etc. for Windows NT 4.0 any longer.  Also, you might night want to carry some of garbage (registry and file) from NT to Server 2003.

    Assuming that your AD environment is going to pretty closely mirror your NT domain, you could also install Windows NT Server 4.0 as a BDC on some workstation hardware, install NT SP6a, promote it to PDC, upgrade it to Windows Server 2003, join your new server to the domain, promote it to a DC, move the FSMO roles to the new computer and descommission the temp server.  Voila!  You've just migrated your user and computer accounts from your old Windows NT 4.0 domain to your new Windows Server 2003 domain.  All that you need to do then is migration applications and data from the original NT 4 server to the server 2003 server.
    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    This article might help you to choose the correct upgrade path for you:

    Generally I would suggest a restructure migration, unless you're working with limited resources, a very small or a very well-organized environment. Restructure migration lets you design everything from a clean plate, it's less risky and much more flexible, but of course also usually more expensive and requires more work.

    About your clients, even with a restructure you will be able to retain all profiles if you follow the instructions in the Server 2003 Deployment Kit:

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