Can I demote a Windows DC, remove it from the domain and then rename another server with that same name?

Posted on 2014-09-24
Last Modified: 2014-09-24
I have a Win2003 R2 Domain Controller named FS1 and another Win2003 R2 Domain Controller named DC2. The plan is to add Win2008 R2 DC's and remove Win2003 DC's.

FS1 holds all FSMO roles, DNS, DHCP and is a file server.  After I add a Win2008 DC I plan to transfer FSMO roles, transfer DHCP and demote FS1 to a member server so that it continues to function as the File Server. Once this is completed I plan to install a new Win2012 R2 member server (FS2) and move the files over to this new server.

With that, my question is....

After I demote FS1, after I move the files to a new file server (FS2), after I remove FS1 from the domain can I go back and rename the new file server from (FS2) to (FS1) so that drive mappings are not broken on my client machines?  I know that I can setup GPO's for drive mappings but almost all my users have several very unique mappings.
Question by:preshomes
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:David Paris Vicente
ID: 40342686
Yes you can.

The best way is to follow a tutorial.
You can find one here

Let us know helped.

Author Comment

ID: 40342702
The information you have provided seems to be talking about renaming an active DC and not a demoted DC.  I would assume that demoting the machine would take care of most of the possible latency issues that could occur.  Anyone else?
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:David Paris Vicente
ID: 40342717
Sorry, I though that this new FS2 was a DC after installation that´s why I pointed the tutorial.

But again yes you can, you can do it by control panel or PowerShell.

With powershell:
Rename-computer –computername “computer” –newname “newcomputername” –domaincredential domain\user –force –restart

Open in new window

You can test it with other machine before you rename the FS2 and check if it´s everything right, and also check the DNS to see if is everything pointing to the correct names.

Hope it helps.
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LVL 34

Accepted Solution

it_saige earned 500 total points
ID: 40342737
As long as FS1 is no longer a domain member, then it can be renamed and readded to the domain.

Running DCPROMO on a DC to remove it (should) remove all AD DC entries (but it is not uncommon to end up with orphaned entries) but still leave AD entries that allow membership.  Removing the computer from the domain usually takes care of the remaining entries.  With that done, then you can rename the computer and rejoin it to the domain.

As for renaming FS2 to FS1, so long as FS2 is not a DC, you can rename it, you just need to take care with regards to drive mappings and unc file path dependencies - i.e.:
I created a word document and stored it in \\FS2\documents\myword.doc.
You make the change and now when I hit my shortcut I get a file not found error.

In the past, I have tried to make changes like this when there is downtime that allows for me to complete the file migration and renaming during the same downtime period.


Author Comment

ID: 40342771
Saige....I plan to do exactly that... Users will not actually use the new server until I rename it to FS1.  I will move/copy the files over to the new server and then during the maintenance window move only those files have changed since the initial copy so that I can complete the move and renaming at the same time.  FS2 will not become a domain controller.  I simply want to demote FS1, take it down and rename FS2 to FS1.

Based on your comments I should not have any ill effects, correct? Seeing that I am renaming FS2 to FS1 then my users shouldn't be affected since their mapped drives will have the same UNC name as before?
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 40342775

Also I do not know which tool(s) you will be using but if you havn't tried the Microsoft File Server Migration Tookit (fsmigrate), I highly recommend it.


Author Comment

ID: 40342780
Yes...I am familiar with this toolkit.  Thank you for the confirmation!

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