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Migrate Two Split-Scope Windows Server 2003 DHCP to a Windows Server 2012 R2 R2 DHCP Cluster

Hi Guys,

I was wondering what is the safest option to migrate a 2003 split-scope dhcp setup to 2012 r2? We absolutely need to keep the leases and reservations and the 40+ scopes. I looked around the web and most people migrate dhcps using powershell so i installed the package.


DHCPWindows Server 2003Windows Server 2012

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8/22/2022 - Mon
Michael Pfister

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I exported both dhcps but the resulting files are unreadable. I can't really edit them.
Michael Pfister

You're right, I confused it with the dump parameter. This one generates a readable text file but its not dumping leases, just reservations.

netsh dhcp server \\dhcpserver dump > allscopes.txt
Michael Pfister

PowerShell on 2012 has  Export-DhcpServer and Import-DhcpServer cmdlets but I've never tried them.

I also doubt it can remotely export the data from a Windows 2003 DHCP but you could give it a try. It will generate an editable XML file.
Your help has saved me hundreds of hours of internet surfing.
Michael Pfister

As a last try use this vbs to export your leases to a text file


Then convert the leases to XML and try to import them via Import-DhcpServer.

In fact, what i was hoping for was a straightforward procedure. I know it can easily be done from 2008 to 2012 but information is lacking for 2003. Any thoughts or field experience would be appreciated.


Would it be easier if i migrate my two 2003 dhcps to two 2008 r2 test servers and then to the 2012 r2 servers which is a way more documented?
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I guess the easiest solution here would be to decomission one of the servers and modify the other one to accomodate the entire scopes and then export everything to a 2012 r2 server. This scenario seems more documented so thanks for the cues.
Michael Pfister

The main problem seems to be getting the leases from the 2003 database to the new server.

This article describes the (imho complicated)  usage of the Windows Server Migration Tools to migrate to 2008 R2 (as an intermediate step)


Never tried that, netsh dchp server export and netsh dhcp server import were always good enough. It is not clear if Windows Server Migration Tools are capabable to grab the leases

Here are ma thoughts:

Our DHCP split-scope setup is 50/50.
What if i set lease expiration very low on DHCP #2 (to be retired)
Configure scopes to include  the whole bunch of addresses on DHCP #1
Configure scopes to exclude the whole bunch of addresses on DHCP #2 (this should tell clients that their ip leased is expired and to request new ips which should be provided by DHCP #1)
Configure ip conflict detection on DHCP #1 just in case.
When every lease is transfered to DHCP #1, decomission DHCP #2
Export DHCP #1 config to DHCP 2012 #1
Configure load balance options to DHCP 2012 #2.

How does that sound?

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William Peck

Another idea just popped in my head. We will be moving a split scope to a cluster of two servers. What if i import DHCP#1 to new dhcp#1 and DHCP#2 to new DHCP #2 and then configure load balancing? Will the scopes sync if i specify the same options on both sides beforehand?

Final update:

Here is how i'm going to do it.

Export both 2003 DHCP servers
Import the configs on my new 2012 r2 servers

At this point i'll follow this document but the final import will be done on DHCP 2012 #1: