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Splitting roles from old Microsoft 2003 between 2003 server and new 2008 server

nigelbeatson used Ask the Experts™
We currently have a single Windows 2003 server (standard) which also runs exchange. To be honest the storage of 500Gb is bulging at the seams and we need to do something about it.

What we hoped to do, was add a new Windows 2008 (standard) server, and use this for storage only, (file and print services) whilst keeping the old 2003 server for exchange only.

What are the implications of doing this? Do we run DCPROMO and demote the old server after installing the new server. How will having 2 servers on the same network both being a domain controller (even if for a short period only) affect things.

When we install the new server, do we give it the same domain name even, or do we need to give it anew domain name before data migration.

As you can see, I am a little confused about how to actually proceed, so any information would be welcome.

I have seen a Microsoft Migration document before, in fact I have actually carried this out with SBS 2003 to SBS2008, and it was a nightmare! I seem to recall it was very scant on information regarding naming conventions, so I thought I should be totally familiar with what to do with this, to avoid significant down time.

The difference here though, is that we need both servers operational, and ideally, I presume that we can have the new one as the DC and th old one as the BDC. Is that correct?

Any advice gratefully received.

Many thanks.
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I forgot to add, if our users authenticate to a different new server, can they retain their current desktops? Ideally we just want the drive mappings changing to the new server location, and keep everything else the same.

You can simply add the new 2008 server to the 2003 domain as a member server. It does not need to be a domain controller. However it is always better to have redundancy in your domain so making this and additonal DC would be beneficial. The following article explains in further detail the tasks required to make the 2008 server a dc http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc733027(WS.10).aspx

The domain will be the same so th eend users will not lose desktop environment. You will need to move the files and folders onto the 2008 server, reconfigure the required shares, permissions and modify mapped drives to the new server.
Just to highlight further, if you are going to add th e2008 as an additional DC ensure you ahev a full backup of the current 2003 DC for restoration purposes


Thankyou for your assitance.

Do we need to perform a migration of all of the users and rights from the old server to the new one?

As we will be replacing the old server at some stage in the future, would it make sense to make the new server the PDC and have the old Windows 2003 server as a BDC.

Can I presume with Windows 2008 server, we can still have a primary domain controller, and then a secondary for redundancy? I am just intrigued as to how adding the 2008 server to the domain as a memeber server pulls all of the security information through.

I have not looked at the document yet, so if I have duplicated anything covered there, I apologise.

many thanks.


One of the additional problems we have, is that we are struggling currently to take a full backup of the server, as our current backup device is exceeded in capacity by the amount of data contained on it. This is one of the reasons why we need a new server.

Is there anything that is particularly risky when adding a new server. I just thought we could add the new one, copy the data accross to the new location, and then configure the new server as a PDC and have the old exchange server as a secondary.

We can then remove all of the data from the old server, leaving only exchange in place, which can be backed up fully by the tape drive in place, without any problem.
There is no longer a primary DC and secondary DC within 2003 or 2008, both DC's are writable (unless you specifically make a DC read only) In brief, the doucment will explain in greater detail, you will perform a full bakcup of 2003 dc, prepare the 2003 Active directory for the new 2008 extensions, raise functional level to 2003 (from memory) add the 2008 server as a member server, promote the 2008 sevrer using dcpromo as an additonal DC in the existing 2003 domain.

either server can fail and AD wil still be writable

In the future when you need ot remove the 2003 DC, transfer FSMO roles to the 2008 and any network based roles such as dhcp etc to the 2008 box. Then you can remove AD using dcpromo on the 2003 box.

When you add th e2008 sevrer it copies the AD, containing users, groups group memberships etc. The ONLY thing that will bneed to be done is to reassign the correc tpermissions to the share and NTFS structure on th enew 2008 box. As well as modify mapped drives to the new server name.

You would need to ensure th esystem state is fully backed up, this contains your AD information


Ok That is very helpful.

Just to be clear, I can physically connect the virgin server to the network infrastructure, install Windows 2008 server software, provide all of the current domain information, which is currently being used, configuring the new server as a domain controller, then take the steps detailed in the document you provided.

I am comfortable with moving the data and modifying the mapped drives etc, it is just the integration of the new an old servers at the domain / active directory level that I am concerned about.

There seems to be little low level information about the actuall process from installation of the server 2008 software and the steps required to integrate with the 2003 server.

I really appreciate your assistance.

Many thanks.
The link i sent you detials more, the process required. But in essence it is a very simple procedure that in total should take an hour or so to get a 2008 server joined as a DC in 2003.

Yes you can add virgin server, install 2008, backup 2003 system state, update the 2003 AD, add 2008 server to 2003 domain, run dc promo.


Many thanks - I will take a look.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
I think waynej1979 has done a good job helping you so far - to add, there "seems to be little low level information about the actuall process from installation of the server 2008 software and the steps required to integrate with the 2003 server." because there is just not much to do.  All that's needed is to join the domain.  Making a 2008 Server a member server an existing 2003 domain is as simple as adding a Win7 machine to an existing domain.  It gets more complicated when you want to make it a DC and wayne has provided MS links for doing so - personally, I prefer Dan Petri's links:

Once prepared, it's as simple as running DCPROMO and reading carefully (and understanding the terms to begin with).
Thanks leew..i agree Dan Petri is very very good and definitely worth taking a look at the articles mentioned.


I am sorry for the delay in responding, and thankyou to all who has helped so far.

The project is going ahead over the next couple of days, so we willl be using all of the information suggested above, however there is one slight variation that I was not aware of at the time of my initial  entry.

That is that the network also has an additional windows 2003 server, also running exchange, which is connected via a vpn. Do we need to carry out the same modifications to the windows 2003 AD on the other server too, and if so, how critical is timimg here. Do we need to do them at the same time, or just one at a time? How do we know when all of the changes have propogated correctly?

Many thanks.
is this 2003 server running as a dc or just a member server?