Win 2003 SBS to new SBS server guidance

Posted on 2008-10-09
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I'm getting ready to migrate a Windows 2003 SBS server to a new server.

I've ordered a new server, also with Windows 2003 SBS.  I think there might be different SP levels, though.

I'm looking for a guideline to move everything over.  Here's the what the server does now:
* Active Directory
* Exchange
* File server
* Webserver, including web exchange
* Peachtree (financial) database server
* Profile synchonization

Mostly, I'm looking for the best way to migrate the AD and Exchange mailboxes.  I can handle moving the website over (it's just static HTML) and getting Peachtree set up and migrating the files.

Any links to existing articles are welcome.  Any personal experience or caveats are certainly welcome, as well!

I haven't been real happy with the file synchronization option, mostly because if I restart the server then everyone has to know to click the "offline files" option to get re-connected to the server. So, I'm tempted to disable that, but I really like that the files get synched to the server so they get backed up. If there's any easy answer for that during the migration, let me know.  I may ask a separate question if it gets too hairy.

I know I was frustrated with SBS when I first used it because I was used to doing everything in the MMC windows instead of through the wizards, and things just didn't work right.  So, I'm trying to get a head start on that before I dive in.

Thanks!  --- Wes
Question by:wesgarrison
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LVL 96

Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 22684345
First, it sounds like you've figured this out, but I'll say it anyway, do everything you can via the wizards.

Second, you asked "I'm looking for the best way to migrate the AD and Exchange mailboxes" the answer is general considered by most to be - it's NOT FREE.  But it is very affordable... at about $200, if I'm not mistaken.
LVL 14

Author Comment

ID: 22684353
Hey, if it saves my client $200 worth of time, I don't think he'll care.
LVL 14

Author Comment

ID: 22684367
Also, is there a wizard to do the transition to a new server?  Or to move mailboxes or change a DC to a different box?  
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LVL 96

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 22684374
That should all be covered in the sbsmigration kit.  

Built in, no - because SBS must be the FSMO master, there is no wizards to transferring the roles - your not expected/supposed to.  With regards to exchange, I don't recall any.  There are tools for migrating them though, as I recall.

Assisted Solution

acesover2000 earned 125 total points
ID: 22684401
You can transfer the FSMO roles in the standard way (, however once a SBS server  has been removed from the (I believe PDC emulator and GC server) it will shut itself off in a week on an hourly timer (thanks MS). If you're determined to keep the active directory then this is the way to go, however usually Small businesses are so small the added comfort of creating a new domain properly ( use *.local for the domain name!!) makes it worth it to just create user profiles and then migrate the old ones on each client :

As for migrating exchange exmerge is a great utility to do it, and if configured properly will drop the old mailboxes into new mailboxes (creating disabled users when necessary, i.e, no mailbox exists) very easily.
if you are using exmerge to migrate to a new domain, 1) run it on the new server, and 2) make host file entries pointing servername.domain.local which is your old server fqdn, to and domain.local, being your old domain fqdn, and point them both to the old DC, obviously do not demote the old server if you do this

Because of the limitation on SBS for 2 domain controllers in one domain, I prefer to create a new domain, as it's easier to move backwards in case of problems. although I've never tried the swing kit linked above.

exmerge utility :

Assisted Solution

intekra earned 125 total points
ID: 22688718
I followed this document about a month ago to transfer one of our clients SBS server to new hardware.

It's very important that you follow all the steps carefully, especially when to install service packs, and updates.

Hope that helps!
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 22689828
please note: I did not say my post was the only way - simply that it is widely considered to be the best way.
LVL 14

Author Comment

ID: 22767487
Well, I tried out sbsmigration.  Very awesome information and a cool process.  However, AD is SO messed up on my server that it won't replicate to a new server.  I decided to cut and start from scratch, so I'll post a new question about that.
Thanks for the help!

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