DC, DNS, DHCP, WINS Server Migration

Posted on 2007-07-25
Last Modified: 2008-02-01

I'll have to remotely migrate a domain controller (not primary) from an old server currently still in use to a new machine in the same network. Both servers have static IP addresses.

This machine has those roles :

- Domain Controller
- File Server

I usually do help-desk and write administration scripts and programs, It is my first time doing that and I'm a bit anxious to do it especially since I'll have to do this remotely and the servers are in another country.

I would be grateful if you could provide me with a checklist of what do to and what to take care of and possible gotchas based on your experiences.

For the file server, I intend to copy the files and shares using robocopy /COPYALL.
Is there a better or quicker way ? (like copying all the shares at once, rather than one after the other)

Regarding the domain controller, I think I just have to DCPROMO it, do I have to demote the old one first or doesn't it matter ?

The steps on the website below are easy, but can you please confirm they are accurate and that I don't need to do anything else ?
This KB seems to have more steps, which one is actually needed in my case ?

but under the DHCP snap it I can see a Backup menu item when I right click on my DHCP server.
If I back it up from the current server and restore it to the new server, will that work, or will it just restore the DHCP database and other steps are required ?


Any other tip or consideration to be taken or best practices when doing that ?
Also, at which points shall I stop the services on the old server to enable them on the new one, etc ?
In short, any complete check-list applying to my case from you is very welcome.

I'm a bit anxious since it will be my first time doing this and have not received any training in that, and it also has to be done remotely (through remote desktop and optionally VNC if needed), which means that if I lose remote connectivity, I will be stuck with a non working office which will upset many people on the Monday morning.
Is it safe to do this remotely, anyway ?
How to limit the risks of getting disconnected without the possibility to connect back ?

Thanks a lot for your help,

Question by:Vorenus
    LVL 23

    Accepted Solution

    If the server you are about to replace is NOT the root DC, then why not promote the new server to a DC running side by side with the old one and lets Active Directory replicates itself?

    If your DNS is Active Directory Integrated (I would guess it already is as you are using w2k3) then it will replicate with AD and you need not to worry about it.

    As for DHCP - if you have a small dhcp client base you may as well configure it manually. DHCP backups itself every 60 minutes but if you want to manually back it up you can do so. I have answered DHCP backup before so feel free to have a peel of my previous accepted solution.

    Robocopy for files is a good idea as it copy across the permissions as well.

    Once that is done you need to make sure your clients are pointing to the new server for DNS, DHCP and files.
    LVL 1

    Assisted Solution

    Hi Vorenus;

           If it were me I would build up the new server and run DCPROMO to add it as a Domain controller. Then add the additional Services (DHCP, DNS, WINS). Configure this DHCP Server with the new DNS, WINS and other information to insure these services are working. Once you are satisfied they are working properly disable the services on the original server, but not until you feel sure the services on the new server are stable.  Once this is done then ROBOCopy over the file shares ( I am not familiar with ROBOCopy so if it copies the shares and permissions that is great. ) change the pointers to the new server and give it a shot. I would leave the old one in place if there is room for a few days to make sure everything is working good. If anything fails you can always turn the old one back on. Don't forget to include the new server in nightly backups.


    LVL 4

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the answers, but I need some clarifications if you don't mind.

    ormerodrutter, your idea to promote the server and wait for it to get replicated sounds good.
    I believe if you suggest that there is no risk of them to conflict with each other, right ?

    I created a small isolated network on VMWare and tried several things.
    In that network, I created a main domain controller and another server which I joined to the domain and then dcpromoted.
    It didn't install the DNS service by itself (maybe I'm supposed to do that before dcpromo though ?).
    I installed it afterwards anyway and I'm currently waiting to seeif it gets replicated.
    Before that, I also tried what this webpage said :  but it didn't seem to work well since I couldn't see my zones in dnsmgmt.msc...

    The backup and restore from the DHCP context menu seems to have worked right since I can see the same configuration in the snap-in. Unless there is something bad with this method, it is what I'm planning to use.

    My plan is to rename the new server to the name of the current server when everything will work fine ready so I don't have to remap anything.

    In clear :

    Currently it is :

    My new server to be deployed is called "ServerNew"
    My current server is called "Server"

    Server -> ServerOld
    ServerNew -> Server

    so no need to bother with repointing anything.

    Will this be a problem ? Noticeably in terms of Active Directory (the name of my DCs will have changed : won't it be upset ?)

    LVL 4

    Author Comment

    Can please somebody reply to my questions above ?

    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    There shouldn't be any risk promoting an additional DC in your network. Set you DNS zone to AD Integrated so it replicates together with your AD between the DCs.

    In order to rename your DC, have a read of the link below :-

    You can't rename a Win2000 DC (you can with Win2003) and you didn't specify what OS you are running on the old DC. By the way, you can always demote the old DC into a member server and rename it if you wish.

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