Least effort way to migrate Windows 2003 server to Windows 2008?

We are upgrading a branch office which has 3 Windows 2003 server running AD, File server, DNS, DHCP, MS SQL. There are over 40 shared folders and 10 printers.

Is there a easy way to migrate the Windows 2003 server (32bit) into one Windows 2008 server (64bits)?

Is there a tool to move the objects to the new server? or replicate the Shared Folders.

Who is Participating?
Krzysztof PytkoConnect With a Mentor Senior Active Directory EngineerCommented:
There is no quick and simple way for that. You cannot do simply in-place upgrade from 32bit to 64-bit architecture.

You may try to follow below steps:

1) Prepare new DC based on 2008 server

The first 2008/2008R2 DC in 2003 environment

Transfer FSMO roles to the new DC

when you transfer PDC Emulator then you need to advertise new time server in your 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(time.windows.com) 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 MVP blog at

At this level you have new DC and DNS replicated

2) DHCP migration

3) File Server migration
Here, you can use Robocopy to copy data into another server and then use exported registry file to import shares on the new box

or use new 2008R2 feature to migrate File Server role

4) SQL
Install new SQL machine and detach existing SQL database(s) on the old server. Copy all MDF and LDF (database and log) files to the new SQL server and attach them.

Remember that all new servers must be set up on clean installed servers.

Sushil SonawaneConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You can't upgrade Windows 2003 32 bit OS to Windows 64 bit OS.

For AD :

Create addition domain controller and migrate the user.

Refer below link to add 2008 DC in 2003 domain.



For file server.

Use Microsoft File server migration tool. This tool easy and GUI base.


For DNS Server

When you create ADC automatically DNS data will replicate on new DC controller.

DHCP Server

Refer below link :

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