Worry about Transferring PDC from NT to Windows Server 2003

Hey everyone.  Small company (50 employees) and we are running our PDC and DHCP on a very old HP PII running NT 4.0.  We do have a Windows Server 2003 running on a Dell Pedge 2800 that is running as our fileserver.  I would like to find out:

1) Opinion if it can handle the PDC duties as well.  Considering the PII was handling it, I don't think it should be a problem.  We are serving under 1TB of files.  
2)  Transferring the user logins.  This is where I am worried.  No clue how to do this.  If i just rebuild them (hand type the user logins in), I am assuming that will destroy people's logins on their machines and they will lose their docs/settings, etc.  
3)  DHCP - Again, I think I'll have to hand exempt the IP addresses for the printers, etc.

I took over for the old head of IT, and I was left with this very ancient machine.  I think he had been avoiding switching over for years and years because of the problems outlined above.

Thanks everyone.
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joeywConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I did this same transition about 5 years ago.

Try the following links


other than a couple of odd looking sids, everything went smoothly.
forgot to mention, you will also have to configure FSMO roles on the new server.  Mastering windows Server 2003 by Mark Minasi is a good resource book to help you get your domain configured prior to transferring the old NT stuff over.
RightNLConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Personally I would choose to make a new domain and migrate the users to this new domain.
especially when it's such a small number of users.
you can use all sorts of tools to migrate the user accounts and data.
Your biggest problem will be user profile but that's something that needs to be done and can be done easily if you've enabled roaming profiles in NT4.
Steps ..
1. remove the server from the old domain if it's a member
2. promote the server as an domain controller.
3. use the file and migration tool to move any rest data.
4. use the user migration tool to move the user accounts.
don't forget to communicate this to your users..
we've done 200 users in several offices like that a couple of years back and it worked like a charme.
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jackharknessAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone for your input.  It helps tremendously.  Can anyone speak to whether or not the Pedge2800 will be fine as a PDC/DHCP while working as a fileserver at the same time?

My guess is yes since the PDC is currently on that almost 15 years old PII, but would like feedback.

For most the part, the activity associated with the PDC and DHCP in a single server environment only occurs when users are logging on or machines are rebooting.  If you are only managing files (assuming documents like word, excel, etc and not interactive applications that are storing their data on the server), then these roles would not put a significant additional load on your hardware.   IS your DNS handled by another machine?  Depending on how it's configured DNS can sometimes cause resource spikes (especially when integrated with spam filters and such).
jackharknessAuthor Commented:
Our DNS is being handled by a linux machine (Dell Optiplex) that runs FTP/Apache/DNS.
Then I wouldn't expect any problems unless you have some application that is constantly writing to the file server.  My original 2003 server was a P3 IBM server with 512 mb of memory running PDC, DNS, DHCP, printer server, scanning software and all FSMO roles and we never had any resource issues other than some DNS timeouts.
the answer is simple I have 2650's doing the same stuff .. but the model doesn't give the specs....
but also I've had an optiplex do just that dc and dhcp and dns and print (it was temporary since the dell poweredge died.. )
dc role is only heavy when there
a. a lot of users
b. a big application load
c a lot of replication
d etc etc..
but mostly it's a mix of these factors that make a server slow of fast.
jackharknessAuthor Commented:
Hey everyone.

I am moving my PDC and DHCP this Friday after the users (55 users) have gone home at noon.  I hired a consultant to come and help, but here is my next question.  Which 2003 Server to put it on?

1)  Pedge 2800 - Running Email (IPSwitch - 60 users), File Server, & Print Server roles.  NOT under warranty any more.  Ran out 1 month ago.
2)  Pedge 2800 - File Server - about 1 TB.  Running a few things in addition, including adobe version cue for very small creative group.  Motherboard died last month and I renewed warranty and they replaced motherboard with new one.
3)  Pedge R300 - Brand new.  1U.  Using it only for finance group's software that they bought from proprietary company.  Used by only a few people.  My thinking is maybe this one??

Any and all input is appreciated!!


PS - Someone suggested above to make a new domain and migrate the users.  How many agree that would be less tricky than using same domain name?  Thoughts??
joeywConnect With a Mentor Commented:
None of the active directory functions use a lot of resources.  By nature, they are most active when your users are first signing on for the day.  So these processes will most likely go idle after everyone has logged in and before they start accessing their applications, files, email, etc.  I would use a machine that had maintenance from just a paranoia standpoint.  However, depending on your backup and recovery discipline, you may be comfortable with any of the machines.  Also, you need to add the system state into your backup routine.  The system state on your Domain Controller will backup active directory and all of it's settings.

With active directory, you're also going to want DNS activated on the server.

Since you have multiple servers at your disposal, I would consider also making one of them a secondary domain controller and configuring replication.  If you're primary DC goes down, the secondary will assume it's responsibilities.  Once your primary is back up and running, AD will resume replication and any changes made will be automatically populated to the once again running DC.

In planning, you need to consider all of the FSMO roles and where they will reside.  This article describes the roles.  Immediately after converting and for several months afterward, I only had one server and all of the roles were installed on it along with all user applications.  After we implemented exchange, I moved the global catalog role onto the exchange server because it generates a lot of requests to the catalog.


If you have a lot of shares with security setup, you will have to recreate everything by hand should you create a new domain.  I used the conversion utilities and processes defined by microsoft with no problems to convert our domain of 35 users.   Unless you just want a "clean slate", a new domain isn't necessary.

Good Luck!
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