Decomissioning a sole Domain Controller (small business server) and turning it in to just a file server.

Posted on 2012-08-23
Last Modified: 2012-08-23
I have a small client who was running a Small Business Server domain controller in his home office. It was also running Exchange (but he is not using the mailbox he had setup in there)

We have decided that there is no point in having DHCP, DNS and Active directory services running in a home, when a simple home router is more than enough to handle those roles on such a small scale. On top of this, the server is 7 years old (It is a very old machine (Pentium - 4) so it is at the end of its life.

The only thing we want at this point is to retain the file shares on the server, and then to map them directly on the client's laptop.

What is best practices for doing this, and are there any good articles and resources that I can look at to guide me?

I understand that running DCPROMO will remove the AD services, however I was hoping for some more advice on this.

Thanks for your help!
Question by:jeebs81
    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    by:Sushil Sonawane

    Author Comment

    Hi sushil - if this is the only domain controller on the network, would you suggest that simply rebuilding the server is the best option?

    I ask this because at the end of the article, that is what is suggested to do anyway

    The client machine is a brand new build, so there will be very little impact to it if the domain is gone

    LVL 4

    Assisted Solution

    An SBS server cannot be demoted.  Just disable the services from the service manager that you don't want to use.
    LVL 77

    Accepted Solution

    As soon as you run DCpromo an an SBS server you violate the licensing agreement and it will start shutting itself down every hour after 7 days.  As jekautz mentioned you cannot demote an SBS server.  In order to function AD needs DNS, so you cannot disable it.  if you remove services like Exchange when you apply updates many will fail and can corrupt the server.  You can disable services, but don't remove them.  Since it is in place with all services working why not use them. SBS doesn't have to be, but should be the DHCP server, not the router.  If the server is old and needs to be retired then retire it.  It doesn't really make sense to try to cripple it but keep it in place.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    In addition to RobWill's comment.  I suggest retiring the server and replacing it with a NAS.  The best solution if the only thing you want to do is share files on a network.  You will also gain real estate when you swap the server out for a NAS, the room's noise pollution should drop, your electrical bill should go greener, and file access will likely be faster.  I would move the DHCP services to the router.

    Author Comment

    thank you RobWill for your indepth and clear response, it is exactly what I needed to know in this situation.

    jekautz - your suggestion of a NAS is definitely something I agree with. I was discussing with the client the option of a NAS today.

    An alternative to that would be that even a simple Drop Box account can do a better job of hosting his files - with the added benefit of being accessible from anywhere. After 7 years, he only has amassed 700MB worth of files that he needs, which is well under the 2GB limit for a free account.

    Anyway, both your responses have helped me be much better prepared to offer solutions/options to the client. Thanks again!

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