Server 2000 to Server 2008 Migration.. Seamless??

Brain0030 used Ask the Experts™
I'm trying to migrate a Server 2000 to Server 2008. Is it true that you can't migrate directly from 2000 to 2008? The Server 2008 is already on the domain as a file server. I'm trying to migrate SQL, AD and Exchange over. Is there an easy way or will I have to upgrade to 2003/2007 then to 2008?
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Top Expert 2012
You can migrate to Windows 2008 Server from Windows 2000 Server. I have done this myself.

You should migrate Exchange first before doing the domain

These procedures are the same for Windows 2000 to Windows 2008 Server

If you are using Windows 2008 Server R2 then read this as well

I would though make sure forest and domain level are at least Windows 2000 native
You can do this. However, I would NOT do Exchange first. I would get your 2008 Active directory up and replicated first. You can not do an in place upgrade from 2000 to 2008. Onlyfrom 2003 SP1 to 2008. Here's a walkthrough

You can not do an inplace upgrade, only possible with 2003 SP1 and higher.
See this way:


One question first:
Is there also an Exchange server in the domain? If yes which version and
on what server role?

- On the old server open DNS management console and check that you are running
Active directory integrated zone (easier for replication, if you have more
then one DNS server)

- run replmon from the run line or repadmin /showrepl, dcdiag and netdiag
from the command prompt on the old machine to check for errors, if you have
some post the complete output from the command here or solve them first.
For this tools you have to install the support\tools\suptools.msi from the
2000 installation disk.

- run adprep /forestprep and adprep /domainprep and adprep /rodcprep from
the 2008 installation disk against the 2000 schema master, with an account
that is member of the Schema admins, to upgrade the schema to the new version
(44), you can check the version with "schupgr" in a command prompt.

- Install the new machine as a member server in your existing domain

- configure a fixed ip and set the preferred DNS server to the old DNS server

- run dcpromo and follow the wizard to add the 2008 server to an existing
domain, make it also Global catalog.

- if you are prompted for DNS configuration choose Yes. If not, install DNS
role after promotion.

- for DNS give the server time for replication, at least 15 minutes. Because
you use Active directory integrated zones it will automatically replicate
the zones to the new server. Open DNS management console to check that they

- if the new machine is domain controller and DNS server run again replmon,
dcdiag and netdiag (copy the netdiag from the 2003 to 2008, will work) on
both domain controllers

- Transfer, NOT seize the 5 FSMO roles to the new Domain controller (
applies also for 2008)

- you can see in the event viewer (Directory service) that the roles are
transferred, also give it some time

- reconfigure the DNS configuration on your NIC of the 2008 server, preferred
DNS itself, secondary the old one

- if you use DHCP do not forget to reconfigure the scope settings to point
to the new installed DNS server

- export and import of DHCP database for 2008 choose "netshell dhcp backup"
and "netshell dhcp restore" command (

- for additional DC's choose the same way, except the FSMO, DHCP and WINS

Demoting the old DC's

- reconfigure your clients/servers that they not longer point to the old
DC/DNS server on the NIC

- to be sure that everything runs fine, disconnect the old DC from the network
and check with clients and servers the connectivity, logon and also with
one client a restart to see that everything is ok

- then run dcpromo to demote the old DC, if it works fine the machine will
move from the DC's OU to the computers container, where you can delete it
by hand. Can be that you got an error during demoting at the beginning, then
uncheck the Global catalog on that DC and try again

- check the DNS management console, that all entries from the machine are
disappeared or delete them by hand if the machine is off the network for ever

- also you have to start AD sites and services and delete the old servername
under the site, this will not be done during demotion

Once this is all done and the FSMO roles have been transferred to your new PDC & BDC then I suggest upgrading your Exchange. You cannot run Exchange on a domain controller so it's usually best to have the new Domain Controllers in place because the new Exchange may have issues with the old Domain Controllers and it could cause problems while you're doing the exchange upgrade as well as the domain controller upgrade.
Sorry, ended too early. So yes you can upgrade straight from 2000 - 2008. However, you need to use a separate machine, Virtual Machine etc... If you want to have it running on physical machines but you don't have spare hardware. I recommend just building temporary Server 2008 domain controllers in a Virtualized Environment. Then when all the replication is done and everything is running smoothly from the VM's and you're 100% absolutely sure you've transferred all data as well as have an image taken of the old server just in case. THEN reload the physical hardware with 2008. Then once the replication from the Virtual servers is done to the physical and you've transferred roles to the physical. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT YOU TRANSFER GLOBAL CATALOG AND FSMO ROLES BEFORE YOU GET RID OF TEH SERVER. You can fix this but it's a huge pain.

So once everythings transferred back to the physical servers you canthen demote the virtual servers and get rid of them. Then I would do exchange. Exchange does not get installed on Active Directory but it does use Active DIrectory to run everything so I've alwyas found it best to upgrade the server before Exchange all though I'm sure both would work. But I've had better luck doing the Servers first. Why would you upgrade your email to a higher version of your OS first before your core servers are upgraded?
PberSolutions Architect

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