Renaming of active directory domain

I am running an active directory network with one main location with a few servers (some of them vms) doing different things (file, and print server, exchange...) and about 50 client workstations. Outside clients log in via vpn.
our top level container (or default naming context?) is "thirdlevel.secondlevel.tld". So any identified host is "host.thirdlevel.secondlevel.tld"
I would like to "shed" one level to bring it down to "secondlevel.tld" or "host.secondlevel.tld" respectively.
This being a production environment, is it better to:
1. Setup a completely new forest and recreate/migrate stuff over
2. Rename the current to the new
And how would you go about it?
Or is there something I haven't thought of?
mycloneAsked:
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Adam BrownSr Solutions ArchitectCommented:
There are a number of factors involved in a domain rename. The biggest is whether or not you are using software that supports it. Exchange 2007 and above does not. If you are running Exchange 2007, you will have to migrate to a new domain.
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Malli BoppeCommented:
I wouldn't worry about it unless their is a business need.Its more work for you and might break things as well.
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