Looking to migrate from Windows 2003 Server R2 SP2 Standard x32 to Windows Server 2008 x32

Posted on 2008-10-22
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
We currently have a single server running Windows 2003 Server R2 SP2 Standard x32 and Exchange Server 2003 SP2 which handles everything - print, file, apps, DHCP, DNS, AD, etc. It formerly ran Windows 2000 Server and had an in-place upgrade applied to W2K3. Since then it's not been 100% stable. I've persuaded the powers-that-be to purchase a new server which has Windows Server 2008 x32 pre-loaded.

I need to migrate *everything* to the new server. Once I've done this I'll be reformatting our old server, reinstalling W2K3 and Exchange 2K3, and then I want to migrate Exchange back from the 2K8 Server to the 2K3 Server and have it run solely as an email server (NB we use Outlook Web Access extensively). The 2K8 Server will continue to be the Primary Domain Controller. Fortunately we have only 2 apps that are server-based - a FileMaker Pro database (which is accessed by specifying the IP address of the server that holds the database files) and Quickbooks data files. Everything else (aside from the Exchange Server) is Office documents and similar.

What do I need to do to complete all this successfully, especially in reference to IP addresses? Our current W2K3 PDC's IP address is (which is also the Exchange Server's IP address), and our DNS servers are and so in addition to migrating everything I'm wondering what needs to be done to give the new W2K8 server the old W2K3 server's IP address (obviously initially the W2k8 server will have to have a different IP address), and then what IP address should be given to the W2K3 Server once it is set up as purely an email server?
Question by:404NotFound
LVL 58

Accepted Solution

tigermatt earned 500 total points
ID: 22780761

I love your username! Very inventive!

Anyway, lets get down to the question. The migration of Active Directory, DNS etc. is relatively easy, but Exchange is going to be a sticking point for you. The main reason is that you cannot install Exchange 2003 on a Server 2008 box; you can only install Exchange 2007 with Service Pack 1. As a result, you would have to have an Exchange 2007 license in order to temporarily migrate Exchange to the new server, and there would be little point once you have purchased that migrating back to Exchange 2003 after the old server is rebuilt.

My suggested plan of action would be as follows:

1. Build new 2008 Server and migrate Active Directory (procedure for AD below).
2. Decide whether to move to Exchange 2007 or keep Exchange 2003.
3a. If keeping Exchange 2003, build a temporary server (even just an old desktop PC) running Server 2003, install Exchange 2003 and migrate Exchange to this server. Uninstall Exchange from old server in Add/Remove Programs and reboot at least twice.
3b. If moving to Exchange 2007, you can install that on Server 2008 as per Migrate as per Remove Exchange 2003 from old server as described in part 3a.
4. Once Exchange is uninstalled from old server, demote that server, format and rebuild.
5. When reinstalling, you can then promote the 2003 server as an additional DC and install Exchange on it to migrate back.

Remember anywhere you install Exchange 2007 MUST be a 64-bit CPU and install of Server 2003/2008.

If you want to keep the same IP address etc. on the new server, you will have to rename that server AFTER you have formatted the old server for good. You can safely rename it, change the IP and then just reboot to update DNS records as appropriate.

The part to remember is to NEVER run the dcpromo tool on any server where Exchange is installed - Exchange must be uninstalled first (or not installed at all!).


Procedure for Active Directory migration:

Install Windows Server 2008 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.

Since you are upgrading the Operating System on the new Domain Controller, you will need to add some values to the existing Active Directory schema, in order for the new server to become a Domain Controller. Windows Server 2008 supports more functionality than before, so a schema upgrade for the domain and forest is required to facilitate this and make this new feature set fully functional on the domain. To make the necessary changes, you must be logged on as the built-in Administrator user account, or a user with Domain, Schema and Enterprise Admin privileges.

Insert the Windows Server 2008 media into your current server . Open a command prompt and browse to sources\adprep folder within the Windows Server 2008 DVD media. Execute the command adprep /forestprep.

Next, execute adprep /domainprep . You must be logged on as a Domain Admin user for these steps to work correctly. Once these commands have run your Active Directory schema will have been extended to support Windows Server 2008 as a Domain Controller.

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. To install the role in Windows Server 2008, check the DHCP Server role option within the Add Roles wizard in the Server Manager. 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. 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 Closing Comment

ID: 31508905
Wow - thanks for the superbly detailed answer! This is a major, major help!

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