Replace server hard drive and reattach clients to domain


I have a server that is having hardware issues and most likely the hard drive is failing.  In the past, I've replaced the hard drive and have had to disconnect the clients from the domain and reconnect them to the domain and then transfer their profiles over.  Is there an easy way to backup the Windows 2003 Server security ID and put it on the new Windows 2003 installation so that I don't have to disconnect and reconnect the workstations from the domain?

Matt KendallTech / Business owner operatorAsked:
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If you have only one domain controller, then it is difficult.  But if you have a additonal dc (or if you can make one) then you can take the dc offline, do the chagnes and bring it back.  Until then the client will be authenticated by the additional DC.  Once the hardware is replaced, you can put back the dc in the network and you should not have any issues.  But if you follow this way, make sure you transfer the FSMO roles to the DC which will be alive all way.

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Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
The best option would be to have a second DC - even it its only a workstation class machine on a temporary basis.

The simplest way is to add an additional domain controller to the existing domain, move the server roles (DHCP, DNS etc) and the FSMO roles.

Here are some more detailed steps that I submitted in answer to a simlar question:

Install Windows 2003 on the new machine
Assign the new computer an IP address and subnet mask on the existing network.

Make sure that the preferred DNS server on new machine points to the existing DC on the Domain

Join the new machine to the existing domain as a member server

From the command line promote the new machine to a domain controller with the DCPROMO command
Select "Additional Domain Controller in an existing Domain" and specify the existing domain.

Once Active Directory is installed then to make the new machine a global catalog server, go to Administrative Tools, Active Directory Sites and Services, Expand ,Sites, Default first site and Servers. Right click on the new server and select properties and tick the "Global Catalog" checkbox. (Global catalog is essential for logon as it needs to be queried to establish Universal Group Membership)

Assuming that you were using Active Directory Integrated DNS on the original DC(the default), DNS will have replicated to the new domain controller along with Active Directory.

You then need to move the FSMO roles - see

You will need to install and configure DHCP (if used) on the new machine

Make sure all clients point to the new server tor their preferred DNS server.

You can then switch off the original DC to make sure all is ok - if so switch it back on and then DCpromo it to remove its DC status before removing it from the domain.

Once this is done then you can add the new machine and go through the process again.
Madison PerkinsConsultantCommented:
if all you are doing is replacing the hard drive use acronis.  it is expensive but works.  you can get a demo and trial key.  

I have used this app for just your situation.  i migrated a server 2003 dc to completly new hardware by backing up the old server to a usb drive then attached the usb drive to the new server and performed a restore. in your case back it up to a usb drive, remove the old hard drive, replace with the new drive and restore.
David Scott, MCSENetwork AdministratorCommented:
for the future, you might want to think about implementing some redunancy into your domain controller's disk subsystem.  i.e. -RAID 5, so that if a drive fails it doesn't bring your network down.  

Matt KendallTech / Business owner operatorAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your input!  It was very helpful and made the server transition a lot easier!
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Windows Server 2003

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