Windows Server 2012 -- Domain Controller upgrade

Posted on 2014-04-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-05-14
Does anyone have an "Upgrade Domain Controllers"
checklist like below, but more detailed and explaining
each step since I am upgrading my non-VM server hardware ?

 1. keep current Windows 2003 "companyName.root.tld" domain going
 2. setup second Windows 2012 "companyNameTEST.root.tld" domain
      ** setup DNS, DHCP, PrintServer, etc
      ** setup a few computers to work with "companyNameTEST"
      ** etc
 3. after everything is working copy ActiveDirectory,
    Folder Security, etc from current 2003 "companyName"
    domain to "companyNameTEST" 2012 domain
 4. take "companyName" offline
 5. rename "companyNameTEST" domain to "companyName"
    domain and change computer name to old domain name
 6. everyone now connects to the new 2012 domain
 7. no one realizes that the domain changed since everything looks the same
 8. bring OLD domain server online if NEW domain server is NOT working
Maybe some links like the below ?


Question by:finance_teacher
LVL 85

Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40029583
renaming a domain is a bad idea add the new server as a secondary domain controller, add the roles, including dhcp but do not authorize the dhcp server as of now,

Shares that are not set via group policy are a problem as they are normally set to \\servername\sharename and not \\domainname\sharename
LVL 11

Accepted Solution

hecgomrec earned 2000 total points
ID: 40032101
You don't need to create a Second Domain to upgrade it.

You don't even need to prepare the AD, just make sure your 2003 is fully patch to the latest version and domain functional is Windows Server 2003, so NO lower functional levels are allowed anymore.

Install your 2012, you can run the preparations (AD and Schema)as previous versions if you want, the installation process will do it automatically anyways if you just run the setup file without any parameters, installed as a member first, then promote it to AD GC, add desired roles, once you add DHCP you most turn off the one in your 2003, transfer FSMO and test everything, if possible do not demote/remove your 2003 until all replications took place and you have tested everything.  Usually I keep then like for a week.

Want step by step guides:




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