Remove primary Domain Controller

Posted on 2006-03-29
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Hi Folks,

I have inherited an Exchange 2000 Server that is also the primary Domain Controller. As this is bad practice, having an exchange server as a domain controller, i wish to demote this to a member server. I can do this using DCPROMO but my concerns are that this was the first domain controller set-up on the domain. Would this matter?

Any hints would be greatly appreciated,


Question by:Baikie
    LVL 48

    Expert Comment

    Hi Baikie,

    can i have a little more detail on the server itself, where did it come from? not a different domain?

    itsnot an issue to demote the first DC if the FSMO roles have been taken up by the other Domain Controllers, however it is highly advised against changing the role of a server carrying exchange, ie demoting or promoting a server with exchange on it! however whilst saying that i have seen numerous cases of this working, whatever you do make a backup before you do anything!!


    Author Comment

    When i say inherited i mean that i have started a new job and just trying to clean up a wee bit from my predecessor. Therefore the server is already part of the domain. It is windows 2000 server standard edition. Everything works fine at the moment, i was just trying to 'do things the right way' and streamline things. However, if you think i should just leave things the way they are then fair enough. As the saying goes, 'if it ain't broke...'

    LVL 48

    Accepted Solution

    ah fair enough,

    you are correct in your best practice comments and i understand completely what you are getting at. Couple of thoughts for you though,

    1) are you intending to upgrade to 2003 in the near future at all. If yes then i would wait until then to change your configuration this drastically if no then the choice is yours. There is no harm really in running exchange on a DC, whilst it is not best practice it is done regularly, in fact i am running an infrastructure (that was built before i started) and we run exchange on a DC and in four years have had no greif, we are about to upgrade to 2003 and chances are, for the sake of redundancy and the fact that it is costly to thave a standalone server, we will probably have exchange on a DC again.....

    2) you will need to do a bit of reading about reinstalling exchange if you decide to go down this path, as far as i know, you just uninstall, demote the server and then reinstall, however i havent had to do this and would advice jumping on to ms and reading what hey have to offer

    3) you need to figure out where all your FSMO roles are and the roles that the other servers hold currently  GC  DNS  etc.

    i applaud your logic at following best practices, but i find that they are more a guideline than a strict set of networkin "laws"

    >>>>>>>"it dont need fixin"   :)

    let me know what you decide and if can help you out with anything else
    LVL 5

    Assisted Solution

    If this is the only domain controller then i would suggest that you promote another server as domain controller and transfer all 5 FSMO roles over to the newly promoted server. Then go to site and services and make that server a GC. Leave it to replicate for abt 24hrs or so before you proceed demoting that server as member server. Note that servers like DHCP scope and DNS has to be configured on the newly promoted server first, do not authorise the newly promoted server as DHCP until you have decom the other server. Hope this clears your doubts.

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