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Transferring FSMO roles in SBS

Posted on 2008-02-04
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We are outgrowing our SBS 2003 environment and would like to get rid of our SBS server.  We have already installed a new server with Exchange 2007 and migrated all mailboxes to it.  We have a second machine with Windows Server 2003 R2 that we'd like to become the DC and fileserver.  We've joined this machine as a member server to the SBS domain and now we are wondering how to transfer the FSMO roles to it.  We could use the transition pack but it seems like a giant waste of money because we already have Exchange 2007 and all the necessary CALs and we plan on retiring the SBS server completely (because it is on old hardware).  Therefore, we don't have any use for the converted SBS CALs!  Ideally, we'd just like to transfer the FSMO roles to the new server but weve heard that SBS will not let go of them.  Is that true?  Is there any way to easily get rid of our SBS server without purchasing the transition pack?

BONUS QUESTION: if the transition pack is the only way to go, do you know if the Windows SBS 2003 R2 Transition Pack will work on WIndows SBS 2003 (not R2)?  The old version of the transition pack is no longer available.

Thank you!
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Question by:dcheest
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by:MotoCrazy
MotoCrazy earned 400 total points
ID: 20820923
Here is a KB article from Microsoft on transferring FSMO roles. It does not mention needing the transition pack.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324801
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by:dcheest
ID: 20821003
Well, I've seen that but I've also read many times that one of the design restrictions of SBS 2003 is that it must be the root of the Active Directory Forest.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Business_Server)
Have you ever done this?
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by:MotoCrazy
ID: 20821049
Honestly, no I have not. We installed our network with 2003 Enterprise on new machines and have never had to.

So that won't work for you? Sorry, wish I could have been more help.
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Author Comment

by:dcheest
ID: 20821061
Maybe you are right.  I was hoping i could find someone who has actually done it to give me assurance that this is possible.  I found this article that seems to indicate it is possible:

http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Migrating-Small-Business-Server-2003-Exchange-Standard-Part1.html

Thank you for your help.
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by:Andrew Davis
ID: 20829399
i have had a client who accidently transfered the fsmo roles to a standard 2003 server, from there SBS machine. it happily let this happen. It was not till about 48 hours later that any problems appeard (cant even remember what the problem was).

so in short i think you will find that sbs will have no problem releasing the roles, however it will not continue to operate, this will not be a problem for you.

hope this helps
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Author Comment

by:dcheest
ID: 20829409
That's very helpful to know that it happily lets it happen.  WOuld be nice to know what the problems were though!  THanks!
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Andrew Davis earned 1600 total points
ID: 20829421
i *Think* it was things like the exchange services not starting. But it was a couple of years ago and many brain cells ;)
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Author Closing Comment

by:dcheest
ID: 31428024
Thank you for your help.  The answer is YES you can transfer the FSMO roles away from the SBS without any problem.  However, if you want your SBS to be part of the Domain it must be the root of the forest.
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