2003 DCs + 2008

Posted on 2011-09-27
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
We currently have about 6-8 Server 2003 Domain Controllers in our network.  We have created two Server 2008 R2 servers that we plan to promote to DCs as well, make one of them the FMSO, in the hopes of raising the functional level of the domain to 2008 level.

Is it possible to do all this while leaving the 2003 DCs in place?  Some of these DCs are in branch offices that will take some time to get to before they can be upgraded to Server 2008 or replaced entirely (some are not 64-bit capable).  What are the ramifications in leaving them in production?
Question by:SR_Tech
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LVL 24

Accepted Solution

Brian B earned 167 total points
ID: 36710833
As long as you don't raise the domain functional level above 2003, you should be fine.

Author Comment

ID: 36710853
So it's not possible to raise the functional level until all DCs are running Server 2008?

Author Comment

ID: 36710930
As well, is it a good idea to make one of the 2008 R2 servers the FSMO or should we leave it as one of the 2003 servers?
LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:Krzysztof Pytko
Krzysztof Pytko earned 333 total points
ID: 36710978
Hi, please visit my blog at and look for adding first Windows Server 2008 R2 as Domain Controller in 2003 network.

Yes, there is no problem running 2008 and 2003 DCs together. You need to only prepare schema for new DC. And yes, transfer FSMO roles to one of the new DCs based on 2008. Microsoft recommends stroring them on the latest OS DCs.

The lowest OS on your DC determines the highest possible Domain Functional Level

LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:Krzysztof Pytko
Krzysztof Pytko earned 333 total points
ID: 36712036
OK, now direct links to posts :)

Addind the first 2008 R2 DC to 2003 network

Transferring FSMO roles

and if you transfer FSMO roles (especially PDC Emulator master) you need to reconfigure time source in a forest

[...]- after transfer of the PDCEmulator role, configure the NEW PDCEmulator to an external timesource and reconfigure the old PDCEmulator to use the domainhierarchie now. Therefore run on the NEW "w32tm /config /manualpeerlist:PEERS /syncfromflags:manual /reliable:yes /update" where PEERS will be filled with the ip address or server( and on the OLD one run "w32tm /config /syncfromflags:domhier /reliable:no /update" and stop/start the time service on the old one. All commands run in an elevated command prompt without the quotes[...]

it's an extract from one of MVP's blog at


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