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Switching from 2003 interim mode to Server 2003

Posted on 2007-12-04
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I just need to verify with some other experts how the switch to Server 2003 DFL works.  I have a mixed mode domain, in 2003 interim mode.  I have 2 NT4 domain controllers left, they aren't used anymore, and getting rid of them shouldn't be an issue.  My question is what happens when I go to switch the domain function level, will it let me make the switch while the NT4 DCs are still online?  Will it just break the replication and functionality of the NT4 DCs, or will the wizard force me to remove the computer accounts from the domain?  
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Question by:MCPJoe
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oBdA earned 500 total points
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There's actually no wizard. You just change the functional level.
Upgrading the level will definitely break replication with the NT4 DCs. I'm not sure if you have to shut them down and delete the computer accounts in AD before you upgrade, but to play it safe, do so.
If you don't have any NT4 members in the domain anymore, then these BDCs aren't used for authentication anyway. Any AD aware OS will only authenticate against an AD DC once it has noticed it's in an AD domain now.

How to raise domain and forest functional levels in Windows Server 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=322692
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by:MCPJoe
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I just don't want to get to my deadline of making the switch and then find out I have to run through other steps to remove the NT4 DCs.  I need to find out if I must remove them first before upgrading the DFL, or if the process will complete even if there are existing NT4 DCs.  I am seeing mixed comments about this and conflicting information in the documentation in various KB articles.  I have a test environment I'm working on configuring and hope to verify one way or another.  I won't have time on the day I need to make this switch to run through additional unforseen steps to deal with removing the NT4 servers.
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by:oBdA
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Just remove the NT4 servers beforehand. Keeping them online can only add more complications, while you gain absoutely nothing from it.
Removing an NT4 BDC from an AD domain means just shutting the machine down and deleting the computer object from the Domain Controllers OU.
If you really need to keep these online for special functions, you could check into UPromote, which will allow you to demote an NT4 DC to a member server.
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by:MCPJoe
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FYI - upgraded to native mode domain, had no problems, other than the domain replication stopping to the only NT4 DC we had left.  This is still running for a fax application we use, and so far seems to be working, even if its not updating anymore.  Want to get rid of this asap, but its out of my hands.
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