Active Directory functional levels?

I recently happened to right click on the my AD forest and clicked on "raise domain functional level" and noticed that it said Windows Server 2000....this confused me a bit since the server has Windows Server 2003 on it....can someone explain this to me?  Is it worth raising the level to Windows Server 2003? (We are migrating to Eindows Server 2008 and Exchange 2007)

What is involved in raising the level and what does it change? What are the differences between the domain functional levels of Windows 2000 and Windows 2003?

s aitAsked:
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I participated in simi;ar question & its worth in raising function level.
Administration task becomes much more easy.
Go through below links. 
Mike KlineCommented:
Yes it is worth raising it to Windows 2003.  The domain and forest functional level determine various features.  Good matrix/reference here

If you will never have another 2000 domain controller then you can safely raise it and as you can see in that link you get some nice features (link value replication, lastlogontimestamp to name a few)

How you raise them is either through the GUI or via command line

So down the road once all your DCs are 2008 or 2008 R2 then you will raise the functional level again.


Good suggestions above about raising the functional level. But I also suggest that you review those documents and figure out if the feature sets are applicable for your environment especially because once you raise the functional leve you cannot go back without restoring the whole domain from backup.

Note also that once you raise the functional level to 2008, you can no longer use Active Directory management tools from a Windows XP machine. So if you have a helpdesk that uses ADUC to reset passwords and such from Windows XP machines, all of them will need to be upgraded to Windows Vista or higher.

Also if you have any older third-party applications that use Active Directory for authentication (such as directory integrated voicemail or email), they might fail to function properly because of the new security settings in 2008 functional level.

It is always best to test everything in a test environment before clicking "raise funtional level".

I haven't seen any problems going from 2000 to 2003 but 2008 has some security changes (so be careful).
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s aitAuthor Commented:
Thanks, while I read the documents can someone give me the top five benefits and features of having a 2003 functional levels and top 3 negatives of it
s aitAuthor Commented:
Same questions for windows 2008 functional benefits vs 2003

thanks all

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Mike KlineCommented:
I see no negatives for going to 2003 forest and domain functional levels.

My three favorites are

1.  Linked Value Replication
2.  Forest Trust
3.  LastLogonTimestamp attribute

Also no negatives for 2008

1.  Fine-grained passwords and recycle bin (R2)


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