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How to change the internal domain name in Active Directory

Posted on 2014-01-03
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Last Modified: 2014-01-11
I've inherited a very poorly designed network. This week the only domain controller crashed and completely destroyed the AD database. After 5 hours on the phone with Microsoft, it was determined that the domain could not be repaired and I would have to rely on backups to restore things. I have backups, but here's my dilemma; the backup hardware and backups contained therein are for the domain named internally as 'wackwack2' and externally as 'wackwack.lan'. When I installed my first Domain Controller in this push to rebuild, I of course named the newly created domain 'wackwack.lan' and Active Directory assigned the internal name 'wackwack' not 'wackwack2'. How can I change it to 'wackwack2'?
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Question by:mikejcurtis
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Will Szymkowski earned 500 total points
ID: 39754260
Domain rename is supported since 2003 but I would not recommend this as it can create issues in the long run if not done properly. If you are not too deep in the restore process i would consider starting over. Also if you already have Exchange in your environment I would not even attempt to change the domain name as this will break Exchange. Take a look at the Domain Rename article below which has all of the steps required to follow and precautions as well. If at all possible I would do this in a test environment first.

Domain Rename - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc738208(v=ws.10).aspx

Additional Info - http://blog.pluralsight.com/rename-active-directory-domain

Will.
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Author Comment

by:mikejcurtis
ID: 39754324
See the problem is the domain already existed, but the solitary DC crashed and took out the DS database. So all my other servers, users, mapping, etc are expecting to find the domain wackwack2 with the external name wackwack.lan. When I added the first Domain controller to my new Active Directaory structure, it named the internal domain wackwack. I don't want to change the external domain wackwack.lan, just the internal name of wackwack to wackwack2. Other wise I'm going to have a lot more work ahead of me having to visit every workstation and device.
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by:Will Szymkowski
ID: 39754336
How are you restoring this DC? From an Image or are you doing a system state restore of the DC?

Will.
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Author Comment

by:mikejcurtis
ID: 39754397
I can't use my backups because one of the NAS that the backup of the Domain Controller is on depends on AD to make attachments. So I have to create the Domain from scratch up to the point where I can get that NAS reattached so I can hopefully do a full restore of the DC. Really sux.
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by:Will Szymkowski
ID: 39754428
If you have created a net-new Active Directory domain then you are going to have to re-add all of your computers/servers/printers/etc back into this new Domain regardless of the name being different. This is also because you have different SID from the previous domain.

Seems like you have a lot of work ahead of you. Make sure that as soon as you get the DC up and running that you add an additional DC to ensure resiliancy.

Will.
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Author Comment

by:mikejcurtis
ID: 39754448
oh damn. I was hoping that if I have a good backup of the DS and AD, and since I'm using the same box that crashed, if I could get the DC back to the wackwack2 network, I could restore everything.
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by:Will Szymkowski
ID: 39754507
What type of backup is it? Is it a system state backup? There are specific steps to get the server up and running again if it is a system state backup. You basically get the server OS installed and pathed (needs to be same version of OS) then you apply the System State backup to this machine. You cannot apply a system state backup to a machine that already has been modified.

System State Backup Active Directory - http://blogs.technet.com/b/justinturner/archive/2007/01/18/active-directory-forest-recovery.aspx

Will.
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Author Comment

by:mikejcurtis
ID: 39754619
Yes it is a System State backup made with Backup Exec and stored on a Buffalo Terastation. The problem is the Terastation is configured as an Active Directory resource on the domain with the NetBIOS name 'wackwack2', but when I try to create a domain called wackwack.lan
AD generates the NETBIOS name wackwack for the domain instead of wackwack2, so none of my devices are part of wackwack, they all expect wackwack2. That's what I need to change. So far I only have the one DC installed, I could blow it away and redo it or anything. If I can't change that internal network name, I can't see how I'm going to get the System State restore to work.
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by:Will Szymkowski
ID: 39754632
You have no other way to access the system state backup on this NAS? You need to apply the system state backup as soon as you have installed windows and applied the patches. Maybe there is another way to access the data on the NAS rather than from the share that was created in the previous domain.

Will.
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Author Comment

by:mikejcurtis
ID: 39754672
At this point, I have tried everything I could think of. I'm going to call the manufacturer now and see if they can provide a clue.
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by:Will Szymkowski
ID: 39754696
Yeah, unfortunately there is no other way. You need to apply the system state backup right after the OS is loaded.

Will.
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Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 39757521
You should be able to get access to the backup on the NAS without the AD being there.

All you should have to do is take ownership of the backup file(s) from a different system regardless of whether the NAS requires AD authentication - you should be able to change this without affecting the integrity of the files on the NAS.

I agree with Will, you only need to get the OS up to scratch, then restore the system-state to get the previous domain back.  If you create a new domain and rename it you'll get problems with authentication as the security info on the DC will be completely different.  That will affect kerberos, etc.
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Author Comment

by:mikejcurtis
ID: 39769397
Well. Nothing worked I'm sad to say. Every restore I tried put the server into a boot loop. I am having to reconstruct my Active Directory network one user/workstation at a time. Thank you all for your suggestions though!
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Author Comment

by:mikejcurtis
ID: 39769418
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for mikejcurtis's comment #a39769397

for the following reason:

No other suggestions worked.
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Expert Comment

by:Will Szymkowski
ID: 39769419
In one of my first posts
ID: 39754428
If you have created a net-new Active Directory domain then you are going to have to re-add all of your computers/servers/printers/etc back into this new Domain regardless of the name being different. This is also because you have different SID from the previous domain.

Seems like you have a lot of work ahead of you. Make sure that as soon as you get the DC up and running that you add an additional DC to ensure resiliancy.

Will.

i had said that you will need to re-add all of the users and computers to the new domain. As this was not directly a solution to your dilemma it was ultimately what you needed to do.

Will.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mikejcurtis
ID: 39774042
Didn't fix the issue.
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Author Comment

by:mikejcurtis
ID: 39774058
It appears that my comment containing the correct answer has been deleted? How does that make sense?
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