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Upgrade from NT4 server to W2K3 R2

Posted on 2008-06-16
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We will be performing an in place upgrade of a customers NT4 domain to Windows 2003 active directory as we have done many times before (but not since R2 came out).  Can anyone clarify that there is no direct upgrade fron NT4 (PDC) to Windows 2003 R2 ??  If so do we just use the Windows 2003 original version for the upgrade fromm NT4 and then upgrade to R2??  If so will the licence key that came with our R2 software also work on the original version of windows 2003??

Please advise
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Question by:dazzler1971
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by:oBdA
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The upgrade should work with R2 as well; R2 just has an additional CD from which setup has to be continued (at some time, you can stop after the first CD as well).
The R2 license key will work for a "plain" W2k3 install as well, as R2 is W2k3 SP1 with additional features from the second CD.
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by:dazzler1971
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well when I ran setup/checkupgrade only it said that NT4 could not be upgraded directly to the R2 version of windows 2003???
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oBdA earned 168 total points
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My last NT4 upgrade was pre-R2, so I'm not completely sure about the direct upgrade. But it should be no problem at all to just use the first CD only (which contains just the plain W2k3 version) to upgrade your domain, then add the R2 extension at a later time.
In addition, I'd recommend to install a new BDC (can be a virtual machine) on a temporary machine, promote it to PDC, and upgrade this one, instead of upgrading your current PDC directly. Install NT4 on a 4GB partition, move the swap file to another partition, and you should have enough space on the disk for the upgrade. Once you're sure the domain upgrade has been successful, you can promote a fresh install of W2k3 and move the FSMO roles to this machine.

If you already have W2k/XP clients, you might have a look at this article before starting the upgrade:
How to prevent overloading on the first domain controller during domain upgrade
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=298713

How To View and Transfer FSMO Roles in Windows Server 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=324801

How to promote a domain controller to a global catalog server
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=296882

And you want to make sure your DNS settings are correct:
Frequently Asked Questions About Windows 2000 DNS and Windows Server 2003 DNS
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=291382

Best practices for DNS client settings in Windows 2000 Server and in Windows Server 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=825036

And some other links that might be useful:
Tools and Documentation for Upgrading to Windows Server 2003
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/upgrading/nt4/tooldocs/default.mspx

Background Information for Upgrading to Windows Server 2003 Active Directory
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windowsserv/2003/all/deployguide/en-us/dssbe_upnt_huxa.asp

Migrating Windows NT Server 4.0 Domains to Windows Server 2003 Active Directory
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/evaluation/whyupgrade/nt4/nt4domtoad.mspx

Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/default.mspx

Valid for most installations, not only SBS:
The Domain Name System name recommendations for Small Business Server 2000 and Windows Small Business Server 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=296250
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by:dnudelman
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The is no difference between a Windows 2003 and Windows 2003 R2, only an extra CD with R2 technologies, and they don't affect upgrades from NT.
If you have done it many times you should have no problems.

Good Luck!

David Nudelman
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by:dazzler1971
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OK thanks David.  It just made me think when I ran the setup /checkupgradeonly from windows 2003 server R2 disk 1 and it came up with this error saying could not upgrade to this version of windows from NT4.  Can you explain this?  I did not actually run the setup alone.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 168 total points
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NT to 2003, including R2 is a supported upgrade path - see:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/evaluation/whyupgrade/supportedpaths.mspx

Keep in mind that R2 technologies, as indicated above, are provided with the second R2 CD.  TECHNICALLY, R2 CD1 is Server 2003 ("R1") with Service Pack in it.

I can't explain your error unless, possibly, your NT domain is not properly patched to Service Pack 6.
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