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Raising Domain Functional Level

Posted on 2011-09-20
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I'm getting ready to upgrade to Exchange 2010 from Exchange 2003 and right now my domain and forest functional levels are Windows 2000 native mode.  Do I need to raise the domain and forest functional level to have exchange 2010 work?  Will raising these levels cause any issues with my domain controllers and users?
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Question by:wmccann09
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Expert Comment

by:mmaris
ID: 36569120
Here is a great article:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322692
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Expert Comment

by:Mike Kline
ID: 36569178
The exchange supportability matrix is a great place to start

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff728623.aspx

As you can see you will need to get to 2003 functional mode for AD for exchange 2010.  At this point I'd try to go to 2008 but 2003 will work.

Thanks


Mike

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Author Comment

by:wmccann09
ID: 36569195
Are there any risks switching over.  Is this something I can run during working hours or is it an after hours fix?  Will user be affected at all?
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abhijitwaikar earned 2000 total points
ID: 36569199
Raising functional levels is very simple process only 2 or 3 clicks. Functional levels determine the available Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domain or forest capabilities. They also determine which Windows Server operating systems you can run on domain controllers in the domain or forest. However, functional levels do not affect which operating systems you can run on workstations and member servers that are joined to the domain or forest.

Raising functional levels increase AD DS capabilities and it provides better and more features for applications, Now it depends on your network and available resources like windows server and exchange versions.

Consideration while upgrading FL:
Raising the domain functional level
Only after you've successfully upgraded the last Windows Server 2000/2003 Domain Controller to windows 2008/2003 for a specific domain (or you don't feel the need to ever add pre-Windows Server 2008 Domain Controllers to your Active Directory environment) you're ready to raise the Domain functional level of that domain.


Raising the forest functional level
After you've successfully raised the domain functional level of all the domains in your Active Directory forest you're ready to upgrade the Forest functional level. This will not add any features, but will result in all domains that are subsequently added to the forest will operate at the Windows Server 2008 domain functional level by default.

Note:
Till windows 2008 raising the functional level was a one way procedure. Once you've raised your forest functional level there's no way to return to the previous forest or domain functional levels however with Windows Server 2008 R2, you can now revert back or lower both the Domain Functional Level and Forest Functional Level of your domain

Some conditions and limitations of this new feature of 2008R2 described below article:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/how-to-revert-back-or-lower-the-active-directory-forest-and-domain-functional-levels-in-windows-server-2008-r2.aspx

Understanding Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) Functional Levels
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/understanding-active-directory-functional-levels(WS.10).aspx
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Assisted Solution

by:abhijitwaikar
abhijitwaikar earned 2000 total points
ID: 36569217
Are there any risks switching over.  : No

Is this something I can run during working hours or is it an after hours fix? : Yes, you can switch over in working hours but for safer side i recommend to carry out this after hours.

Will user be affected at all?functional levels do not affect which operating systems you can run on workstations and member servers that are joined to the domain or forest.
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Author Comment

by:wmccann09
ID: 36569259
I have two Windows Server 2008 domain controllers and one Windows Server 2003 SP2 domain controller.  I can only raise the level to Windows 2003 correct?
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Assisted Solution

by:abhijitwaikar
abhijitwaikar earned 2000 total points
ID: 36569289
I have two Windows Server 2008 domain controllers and one Windows Server 2003 SP2 domain controller.  I can only raise the level to Windows 2003 correct?

Yes, Windows 2003 FFL and DFL.
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Author Comment

by:wmccann09
ID: 36576397
I've updated the DFL.  Where do I update the FFL?
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Expert Comment

by:Mike Kline
ID: 36576406
You raise FFL in domains and trusts also http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc730985.aspx

Thanks

Mike
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