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Any caveats when adding a Windows 2003 server to a Windows 2000 domain?

gs-rho asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-18
Hi all,

    I have administrated Windows 2000 servers/domains for a while, and Windows 2003 domains, however, I have a little bit different situation here, and I hope to get some help from the wisdom and experience out there.

I'm about to have a mixed domain of Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 servers. We are adding the first Windows 2003 server to a Windows 2000 domain/set of Windows 2000 servers. This 2003 server is not replacing any of the other couple, but is needed beyond. All the servers will be running together.

So, I'm wondering if there are any caveats, any tips that any of you might be able to make me aware of when mixing these two servers? Anything to think about, for the sake of the future? I think (very likely) I will be making the 2003 server a domain controller, as in the near future, the other couple servers will be replaced by Windows 2003 servers. So, that is a point to think about. I shouldn't have a problem pulling this off, but it sure is nice to draw from the experience of this community to suggest things to look out for, so it is done right. Thanks!
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Make sure to run dcdiag and netdiag first to make sure you do not have any unknown issues.  

Run the domain prep tool found on the 2003 install disk.

Do you use group policies?

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You'll be fine as long as you remember to leave the forest at Windows 2000 level and domain level at mixed-mode.

Once you get all domain controllers moved over to 2003 then you can up the levels if desired.
Edited:  More info here:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322692


We don't make great use of group policies. I think we have one, setup at the beginning. I'll have to confirm that. But you seem to have a concern about group policies. What is that concern?

If I run the domain prep tool on the 2003 install disk, will that leave the forest at Windows 2000 level and domain level at mixed mode?


Actually, I'm wondering why I should leave the domain at mixed-mode? Doesn't that include NT4. There are no NT4 domain controllers. It seems to me that the domain should be at the windows 2000 native level for forest and domain. I'm just wondering if running the Windows 2003 domain prep is necessary, perhaps to add schema that a 2003 DC needs, even if it is running at the Windows 2000 native level... or if running the 2003 domain prep will cause the domain to be at the 2003 native level, and 2000 DCs will not run?


I can't find anything about a domainprep tool for Active Directory. Are you sure you're not thinking of Exchange? If I'm wrong, please enlighten me. I like the suggestions about the dcdiag and netdiag, but I think I just have to make sure my forest and domain levels include the right DCs.
For information about domain and forest levels and raising them, see here:



Okay, mueller, sorry. You were talking about adprep (for forest and domain), when you mentioned the domain prep tool, right? Can I check my understanding on this? I should run adprep from the "Windows 2003 install disk" on the Windows 2000 server that is the schema operations master, right? Or anyone else?

Regarding running ADprep, this link and the KB article links at the bottom should help you out:



Okay, this grew more complicated because of Exchange 2000. I noticed the note about that on the Petri.co.il site. Thanks for that link! I ran through the whole updating script to bring Exchange 2000 schema inline. Somewhat painful, but I got through it, and confirmed the changes...

Now... I've upgraded the forest, the domain, and the GPO structure with adprep. That all went successfully on the schema master, and I felt I had confirmed it by the success messages, as well as seeing the same successful Directory Service entries in Event Viewer, on both domain controllers.

Then I went through dcpromo with the Windows 2003 server. It seemed to run well, but in the end it failed and reported this error...

The operation failed because:

The Active Directory Installation Wizard cannot continue because the forest is not prepared for installing Windows Server 2003. Use the Adprep command-line tool to prepare both the forest and the domain. For more information about using the Adprep, see Active Directory Help.

"The version of the Active Directory schema of the source forest is not compatible with the version of Active Directory on this computer."

This is not understood, as I have confirmed my actions in here and Microsoft kb articles. The forest and domain reported being ready for Windows 2003, and here it is saying that it is not compatible.

Other points:
- the Windows 2003 server is "Windows Server 2003 R2" - Does that make a difference??
- the Windows 2003 server is pointed at the 2 Win 2000 domain controllers for DNS
- I also ran through the netdiag and dcdiag. I see no indication that AD is having issues. I can enter new objects or changes on eithe AD controller.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me to check or what could be going on here? I would really appreciate it. Thanks for your help so far, but I think this really has to do with the original question.

If you want to run 2003 R2 as a DC you have to run ADPrep from the R2 2nd CD under the CMPNENTS\R2\ADPREP.

This is required if you want R2 as a DC on your network.


Okay, I ran adprep from the first CD of R2 under the i386. Is this going to be a problem? ...or will the 2nd CD's adprep just overwrite with the R2 forest & domain information?
The first CD of R2 is simply 2003 sp1.  So the adprep there is to brings it to 2003 levels.  The 2nd CD's adprep is the one that brings the AD to R2 levels.


Okay, just to update you... I'm having some issues here. I'm going to get some more info to post...
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