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Upgrading from NT to Win2k - Domain environment - PDC, BDC, DC.

Posted on 2008-10-28
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I'm sure I'm the last person on the planet that is still running NT.  I need to get away from it.

I have a single domain system.  We have 2 sites.  The main site has about 18 workstations, a mix of XP Pro & Win 2k wkstations.  It also has a Win NT PDC (A), a Win NT BDC (B)  & a Win 2k Server (C).  

The remote site has 3 workstations running XP Pro & one NT BDC (D), and one Win2k server (E).  

I want to stop using NT, however A, the current PDC and D, the remote BDC, do not have the resources to run Win2K server.  I plan on retiring these 2 computers when the transition is done.  The machine B does have the resources to run Win2kSrv.  

Machine A is the fileserver.  We have a log-in script that each user runs to map various shares on A to drive letters.  

Machine C has a RAID installed.  I don't have the NT device drivers to install NT on that device.  I have created equivalent shares on machine C and copied the files from machine A to machine C.  

~~

So how do I move forwared?  I don't like the idea of installing Win2kSrv over top of a Win NT Srv installation.  I'd rather start with a new disk, if possible.  

~~~

My thought would be to do a dcpromo on the Win2kSrv, copy a fresh version of the data files stored on A to C.  Then shutdown and remove A from the network. Upgrade B to Win2k.  Run dcpromo on E, the shutdown machine D.  

But my question is, if I do a dcpromo of C, then will it will be running in emulation mode, will it insist on being PDC?  If so, will A, the current PDC demote itself to BDC when machine C insists on being PDC?  

If I had to, I could just start another domain and move all the workstations over to that domain.  Does that make for a cleaner transfer?  I'm looking for specific steps to take in the specific sequence.

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Question by:cyberfool
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by:oBdA
ID: 22824087
To start with: to upgrade an NT4 domain to AD, the *current* *PDC* *has* to be upgraded. There is no way to "dcpromo" a W2k(x) machine to BDC in an NT4 domain.
Then I would *strongly* recommend against upgrading to W2k. W2k is discontinued, and apart from security hotfixes, you will get no support for it anymore unless you pay dearly for it. There just is no point in moving to a W2k AD anymore. Move to W2k3, which still allows a direct upgrade path from NT4 (yes, I've upgraded NT4 domains to W2k3 without any problems).
You could create a temporary PDC on a current workstation using Virtual Server or any other flavor or VM supporting NT4 as guest, upgrade this machinto to W2k3, then dcpromo a fresh install of W2k3 on a real server into the upgraded domain, move the roles, and demote and shutdown the temporary client.
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by:cyberfool
ID: 22825474
Win 2003 server is not an option.  We have purchased Win 2k server for the machines and the upgrade cost is not in the budget.  

But to get from NT to W2k, I suppose that I would do the following:

1) Shutdown the NT PDC (A)
2) promote the B machine from BDC to PDC.
3) Install Win2k on machine B.
4) dcpromo the machine C
5) dcpromo the remote machine E
6) shutdown remote machine D.  

Is this a viable upgrade path?
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oBdA earned 175 total points
ID: 22825778
Basically yes, but promote the BDC to be upgraded while the current PDC is online.
And I'd still upgrade a temporary virtual machine, just because you won't have to worry about drivers or other hardware issues during the upgrade.

Since 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

And some other links that might be useful, even though they're mostly for W2k3

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

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

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

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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