Demotion of 2003 domain controller

Posted on 2006-10-20
Last Modified: 2010-04-18
Hey experts,  
I have a Domain controllerthat the guy before me installed with exchange on it.  I wanted to install another server to act as the DC so that our email and DC are on seperate systems.  Is there any issues I need to look out for and is it weven possible to demote with exchange on this server?  I already promoted the new server to a DC and it replicated AD already and I transfered my DHCP scope to the new box too, but eventually I want the new box to be the primary DC and the old one to be just a DC.  What are my options?
Question by:oldskool75
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LVL 84

Accepted Solution

oBdA earned 250 total points
ID: 17776242
Do NOT demote a DC running Exchange, this will break Exchange.
Overview of operating system and Active Directory requirements for Exchange Server 2003

Exchange Server 2003 and Domain Controllers - A Summary

Assuming (considering your question title) that you actually want the old one to be "just an Exchange server" (and not "the old one to be just a DC" as you've actually written), there's not much you can do except a full backup of your Exchange, uninstall Exchange, demote the machine, reinstall Exchange, restore Exchange.
If you want the old one indeed to "be just a DC", then just uninstall Exchange ...

Author Comment

ID: 17804949
hey there thanks for the response and sorry for my late reply, I have been out of town.  I want the"old server", which is the current PDC, to just have exchange on it.  I installed a new server which I want to handle the responsibility of PDC and still have the old server as a DC for replication of AD.  If I uninstall exchange and reinstall it how do I keep the same information store DB?
LVL 84

Expert Comment

ID: 17807361
Sorry, that I can't answer reliably; you might want to ask a question (or a pointer to this one) in the Exchange TA (
Best Practices: Disaster Recovery Testing

Besides backup, any IT division should have a disaster recovery plan. You will find a few tips below relating to the development of such a plan and to what issues one should pay special attention in the course of backup planning.


Expert Comment

ID: 17808133
It sounds like what you're looking to do is add an additonal domain controller, then have it Host the global catalog.. you can then seize the various roles of Active Directory using NTDSUTIL.


What i'm not sure on is what roles you want to seize so you don't mess up exchange.

Hope that helps.


Expert Comment

ID: 17808161
To add on to my last post..

After reviewing the 2nd link.. it seems that the proper course of action is to make your new DC host the global catalog..
Then give it time to propigate the GC to your new DC.

After the global catalog has propigated you can transfer/seize all 5 AD roles using NTDSUTIL


Author Comment

ID: 17808432
Wow I don't remember reading this in any microsoft books.... crazy....  so the most important thing that I am worryed about is exchange.....  I want to make sure that in the end the worst case scenerio is I have reinstall and remount the information store....  will moving the FSMO roles make this less painless.  

Assisted Solution

jspaziano earned 250 total points
ID: 17810840
Make sure you do a transfer instead of a seize since your old DC will still be online.
I don't think that making your new DC a global catalog server then transferring the FSMO roles will effect exchange at all.


Expert Comment

ID: 17810896
To add on to my last post.. you'll want to leave exchange on your existing exchange server.
This scenario is much easier to do since you want to leave your exchange server as a backup DC.

Let me know how it goes.
i'm going to need to do the same thing in a few weeks transitioning from Small Business Server 2003 to two servers, moving the PDC role to a new Windows 2003 server while leaving my old DC as a backup domain controller/exchange server.


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