NT 4.0 and Exchange 5.5 Migration to new Server 2003 and Exchange 2003 server

Posted on 2006-06-01
Last Modified: 2010-04-18
The current environment has an NT 4.0 server running Sp6. This server is their primary domain controller - basically, it's everything to them; PDC, file shares, printer queues, exchange 5.5.

The new server is a windows 2003 standard server and will run exchange 2003.
Other important facts:
  - We're not changing the domain name
  - I'm planning to use the MS tools such as ADMT tools to move users and copy exchange mailboxes.
  - The NT 4.0 with exchange 5.5 will be removed from service once migration is complete.
  - There are about 50 users total, each with an exchange mailbox to copy
  - There's about 15gig of user data in various user home directories (relatively private) and departmental directories
  - We would prefer that everyone's password is not lost in the migration though no password complexity is required in NT4 but will be enabled on windows 2003 standard server
  - Exchange is installed on the new machine in mixed mode right now.
  - Nothing has been done as of yet to create users or move mailboxes so I'm trying to do this right the first time!

I'd like to have a discussion here in this forum as to what the best approach is in terms of sequence and timing of this upgrade. Specifically, I'd like input as to what is the correct sequence of events to perform this upgrade (AD before mailbox move if that's right) and any snags you think we might run into.

Thank you and I look forward to a great discussion.

Question by:paul_lcs
    LVL 33

    Accepted Solution

    some info on the eXchange migration:

    I would perform an upgrade of the domian..

    You best bet might be to get a temp swap workstation... load Windows NT 4.0 BDC on it...  Make this swap BDC a PDC of the domain.  Then perform an in-place upgrade of the OS to Windows 2003.  This will also upgrade your domain to Windows 2003.

    Then add the new "real server" to your domain.  Add this as a Windows 2003 member server.  Then run DCPROMO to promote this to a DC.  Transfer the FSMO roles to the new server:;en-us;q255690  Make this new server a Global Catalog server... and remove the GC role from your swap server:

    Install the DNS service on the new Widnows 2003 server.  Wait for AD replication to occur...  Then point the entire environment to use the DNS of the "real server" windows 2003 server.  Then run DCPROMO on the swap temp DC.  Choose to remove AD from this server.  REboot and then remove the temp swap server from the domain.

    Now, your domain is Windows can start your work on the Exchange migration... , transfer your files to the new server, and services to the new server (like printing, etc) then turn off the old NT server.

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the response NJ....

    Honestly that seems like a LONG approach. It also means I have to be able to run NT 4 on my new hardware - I doubt the customer still has the NT4.0 CDs as this was put in many years ago and they are not very organized.

    Do you think running a AD migration wizard from the NT4 to the windows 2003 server will fail or be a problem somehow?

    Thank you,

    LVL 33

    Expert Comment

    ADMT will work.  but this is a more complicated method (in my opinion).  Either method will accomplish the goal though...

    Author Comment

    Would it make it easier or harder if I changed the domain name on the new server? Now they are talking about changing the domain when the new server is brought online!
    LVL 33

    Expert Comment

    Changing the domain name is complicated if you do the upgrade approach.  Changing the domain name is the same process witht eh ADMT approach

    Author Comment

    I was hoping to get some other comments on this NJ,  but I thought I'd award you the points for your considerable input!

    Best regards,


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