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Changing the role of the Backup DC to the Primary DC

Posted on 2008-06-16
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
We have a file server that was setup as the primary DC that is no longer needed. I want to change the role of the server from a primary DC and change it to the backup DC so that I can shut the server down. If the backup DC stays running (as it is our file server) when the primary DC gets shut off, will the role of it automatically update?
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Question by:ellitech
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by:Compaq_Engineer
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I would recommend moving the roles manually then running DCPromo to demote it before removing it from the domain.
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Hypercat (Deb) earned 300 total points
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In a Windows 2003 domain, there is no such thing as a primary or backup domain controller.  So there is no such thing as an automatic "promotion" of a DC to a different role as there used to be in Windows NT domains.  And also, let me say first that it's a very good thing to have 2 DCs even in the smallest network as a backup in case one of them goes down. So, even if you don't in theory "need" that second domain controller you might want to keep it on the network in case the other server has a failure.

Every DC  has a complete replica of Active Directory. However, there are certain roles that are normally assigned to the first DC in a domain.  So, if the DC you are going to shut down was the first DC in your domain, then it probably holds all of the FSMO roles (Infrastructure Master, Operations Master and PDC Emulator).  These roles need to be transferred from that DC to another DC first before you contemplate shutting it down for good.  You can transfer these through the GUI by opening AD User and Computers on the DC you want to transer the roles TO, and right-clicking on the domain name in the console.  On the drop-down menu, choose the Operations Master menu item.  This will allow you to transfer those three roles.

You also need to make sure that your second DC (the one you are going to leave running) is a Global Catalog server. This setting is in AD Sites and Services, in the properties to the NTDS Settings object under the server name.
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by:Compaq_Engineer
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If it is also the first DC in the forest it will probably also hold the RID and Schema master roles.
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
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Riiight - how did I miss that?  Anyway, here's an article on how to transfer all of the afore-mentioned:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324801/en-us
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by:ellitech
ID: 31467731
Thanks...I'll look at the article and move forward with with the transferring of the roles between servers. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

ElliTech
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