Migrating from SBS to a new Windows 2003 environment

Posted on 2008-06-26
Last Modified: 2010-04-18

I'm in need of migrating a SBS setup to a new domain with a new DC and Exchange server.

Is there any software out there that helps automate these tasks? Also, any tutorials that I might be able to read over in preparation?

Question by:ApexCo

Expert Comment

ID: 21877499
By design SBS cannot be migrated to full 2003/Exchange...SBS Domain cannot join or be joined to a Std/Ent 2003 Domain.

It might be possible to use Exchange utilities to move the database, but I'm not too sure that Microsoft won't block that too.

Probably your easiest way is to export Mailboxes to pst's.  Create your new Domain, Users, Shares, etc.  Attach to the old Server to copy everything over, and then import the pst's to the new user accounts.  There is a big advantage to doing it this way - you end up with a totally CLEAN Domain and will never have that nagging "is my old crap causing this or that problem".
LVL 58

Accepted Solution

tigermatt earned 250 total points
ID: 21877575
First of all, you will need to purchase the Transition Pack from Microsoft. This pack must be run on the current SBS, and is designed to remove all the complex SBS licensing restrictions from the SBS server, turning that server into a standard server which can then be added to a standard domain. At this stage, you then build and bring up your first Windows Server 2003 server and promote it as a Domain Controller. I've posted this procedure below.

Once you have your first domain controller up and running, you can then install Exchange to a new server - either the new DC or a member server - and then begin the simple procedure of transferring the mailboxes to the new server. Once this is complete, you must remove Exchange correctly from the SBS as per

At this point, the SBS should no longer be holding any roles, and can have dcpromo run to be demoted.

Just remember that you must NEVER run dcpromo on ANY server while it has Exchange installed. It WILL break your Exchange installation.

DC Migration procedure;

Install Windows Server 2003 onto the new server which is intended to be promoted as a Domain Controller. Ensure the new server is assigned a routable static IP address on your IP subnet. Ensure the IP address is not included in any of your existing DHCP scopes. The only DNS server entry at this stage should be the IP address of the existing domain controller on your network.

After installation, join the new machine to the existing domain as a member server. This procedure is exactly the same as joining a workstation to the domain.

The next step is to promote the new server as a Domain Controller for the domain. Enter dcpromo at a command prompt and follow the wizard. When prompted, select the option for an additional domain controller in an existing domain. After the wizard completes, the new server will be acting as a Domain Controller for your domain. It is necessary at this point to restart the server for these changes to be applied.

In a single-domain Active Directory forest, all servers should also be Global Catalog servers. The Global Catalog is a required component of Active Directory which is used during logins to establish universal group membership for a user account. To promote the new server as a Global Catalog, open Active Directory Sites and Services from the Administrative Tools container within Control Panel or on the Start Menu. Double-click Sites, then Servers, followed by the name of the new server. Next, right-click "NTDS Settings" and select Properties. On the General tab, check the Global Catalog checkbox. Restart the new Domain Controller for changes to take effect.

Since you intend on removing the old Domain Controller from the domain, you need to transfer all the Operations (FSMO) roles to the new Domain Controller.

The current FSMO role configuration for your network can be found by running the command "netdom query fsmo" at a command prompt on a Domain Controller.

To transfer these FSMO roles to the new domain controller, follow the information detailed in the following Microsoft Support article: Please ensure any other information you follow is information regarding the TRANSFER of FSMO roles. Seizing FSMO roles is an emergency operation which should not be performed during this procedure.

DNS is a critical component of your Active Directory network. The easiest way to install the DNS role onto the new server is to follow the instructions outlined at You should be already using Active Directory-integrated DNS zones, which is the easiest method of allowing DNS replication to occur - DNS information is stored in Active Directory and replicates with Domain Controller replication traffic. To check if your DNS zones are AD-integrated (and convert them if not), please follow

You probably want to enable DNS forwarding in the DNS console on the server, too. This forwards lookups for external domains to a DNS server at your ISP, which allows the server to effectively resolve DNS for external domains. More information on forwarders can be found at

To move DHCP to the new server, you will need to first install the role. Please see for information on how to do this. To correctly configure DHCP after the role is installed on your new server, you will need to ensure you configure it to distribute IP addresses which are in a different range to the IP scope defined on the other DHCP server. You should also ensure the correct DNS and WINS servers are entered into the scope options. Remember that the only DNS servers which should be configured on workstations are the Domain Controllers which are also acting as DNS servers - no ISP DNS server should ever be set through DHCP.

Once all of these steps have been completed, you should have successfully transferred all of the Active Directory roles to the new domain controller. At this stage, I would suggest you shut down the old domain controller and check to ensure all services on workstations and servers are working correctly - including logins. If they are, you should be safe to switch the old DC back on, run dcpromo and demote it from its Domain Controller role (ensuring Exchange is already correctly migrated and removed). This will remove the DC as a Domain Controller, leaving it as a member server on the network.

To completely remove the DC from the network, you will need to remember that any other data - including folder redirection folders and user profiles - should be replicated or otherwise transferred to either the new server or another location on the network.


Author Comment

ID: 21877589
I just found out this is SBS200, ick.
PRTG Network Monitor: Intuitive Network Monitoring

Network Monitoring is essential to ensure that computer systems and network devices are running. Use PRTG to monitor LANs, servers, websites, applications and devices, bandwidth, virtual environments, remote systems, IoT, and many more. PRTG is easy to set up & use.


Expert Comment

ID: 21877600
Like I said starting with a clean Domain has HUGE advantages...

DR sends...

Author Comment

ID: 21877605
Excellent post tigermatt, much thanks!  :)
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 21880708
Actually, if you don't intend to continue using the SBS system, then the Transition pack is a waste of money.  Instead you should be looking into for a toolkit designed specifically to get away from SBS (or move to a new SBS system - it does both).

Author Comment

ID: 21880758
Thanks for following up leew.

I happened to find that site later this afternoon and realized that was a better way to go because the SBS will definitely not be coming back.

Thanks again.

Featured Post

Windows Server 2016: All you need to know

Learn about Hyper-V features that increase functionality and usability of Microsoft Windows Server 2016. Also, throughout this eBook, you’ll find some basic PowerShell examples that will help you leverage the scripts in your environments!

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Suggested Solutions

Title # Comments Views Activity
Microsoft  Partnership 1 81
SolarWind and DNS Server 12 81
Certificate name mismatch error when starting Outlook 5 42
2003 Server DNS/FS errors 6 52
I’m often asked about newer and larger USB drives connected to SBS2008 and 2011 failing Windows Server Backup vs the older USB drives not failing. As disk space continues to grow and drive technology change SBS2008 and some SBS2011 end up with the f…
While rebooting windows server 2003 server , it's showing "active directory rebuilding indices please wait" at startup. It took a little while for this process to complete and once we logged on not all the services were started so another reboot is …
This Micro Tutorial hows how you can integrate  Mac OSX to a Windows Active Directory Domain. Apple has made it easy to allow users to bind their macs to a windows domain with relative ease. The following video show how to bind OSX Mavericks to …
This tutorial gives a high-level tour of the interface of Marketo (a marketing automation tool to help businesses track and engage prospective customers and drive them to purchase). You will see the main areas including Marketing Activities, Design …

809 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question