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Is a Certificate Authority necessary in a Windows 2003 Server domain?

Posted on 2010-09-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Is the Certificate Authority service required in a Windows 2003 Server Active Directory domain?

I have an old domain controller back on the network that I'd like to remove AD from using DCPROMO. When I run the dcpromo tool I receive an error about the CA being installed on that server. I need to remove it before demoting the server.

This server has been off of the network for a few months. Is the CA even required in a Windows 2003 Server domain? Will removing it affect my other domain controllers (my PDC is actually another server).

Thank you.
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Question by:vsCoder
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HunterPine earned 800 total points
ID: 33727248
This really depends on your domain. Are you using SSL certificates on your network issues by that CA?

If it's been off the network for a few months and no one has complained about SSL errors, etc, it's probably safe to uninstall and demote.
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by:jorlando66
jorlando66 earned 800 total points
ID: 33727275
The CA is not required unless you are issuing digital certificates.  If the server has been off the network for months and you have not had any ill effects it should be safe to remove.  You could always (if someone has not all ready)  installl CA on the new domain controller.
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by:smartsid
smartsid earned 400 total points
ID: 33727294
CA is not at all a requirement for AD domain. It comes into the picture if we have security requirements.
You received the CA related error because you cannot rename (or remove from a domain) a machine on which CA is installed. Here in your case it is installed on your DC.
Before demoting DC, you need to uninstall CA role, and then you can proceed for demoting DC.
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by:vsCoder
ID: 33727308
Thanks, HunertPine and jorlando66.

I inherited the network and am not aware of any SSL certs relying upon the CA. I figured since it was offline for so long with no reported errors/issues, it may not be needed any longer.

I appreciate the quick replies and comments.

vs
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Expert Comment

by:Justin Owens
ID: 33727373
As a side note, and not related to CA at all, if you have had DC offline past tombstone, it would be better to just do an AD metadata clean up/server wipe than to bring it back online just to demote and remove it.
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