Server 2003 Domain upgrade to Server 2012 R2 Essentials

Greetings,

I will be replacing a Win Server 2003 Domain Controller with a new Server 2012 R2 Essentials Server.
There are a total of 8 workstations with whom 3 are not joined but connected to the Server via workgroup networking.
The Server 2003 Server has been in place for at least 8 years and has had multiple "computer guys" configuring it.
The Group Policies as well as Active Directory is unmanageable and in-effective at this point.
I am not tied into using the current internal Domain either internally or externally....and no Exchange Server is in use.

My question is as follows:
Instead of spending time "cleaning up" and/or "fixing" AD and GP's does it makes sense, and is it feasible to just create a new Domain name within the new Windows Server 2012 Essentials Server and join all the workstations to the new Server/new Domain?

Also, IF creating the new Domain name on the new Server makes sense will I need to relocate profiles on the workstations currently under the old Domain name to the new Domain profile on each of the 5 Domain joined workstations.

Thank you in advance for your time and expertise.
COM1Asked:
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
You really have a decision to make, and it sounds like you are trying to avoid making it (which is understandable, by the way.) So here it is:
1) Migrate and spend the time cleaning up AD. Better user experience.

2) Save yourself the pain of a migration and cleanup, but accept there WILL be user pain points such as user profile loss and loss of existing ACLs and file permissions. Not a great user experience, but for a small business, may be worth the short term pain.

Either choice has valid points, and I can't unilaterally recommend one over the other. But if you are looking for the magical unicorn of skipping migration and having to clean up AD. And yet have a user experience that is transparent and seamless, no such process exists. Too many technical barriers to ever have such a thing ever work accurately.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I don't really disagree with Cliff in principal... just from my perspective, most businesses your size would be fine starting from scratch.  User pain can be minimal and though I've not had 100% success, there is a GOOD tool - User Profile Wizard by ForensIT.com that can usually migrate profiles.

When you get to 10-15 PCs, I DEFINITELY try to preserve the existing domain unless there really is no choice.
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COM1Author Commented:
Thank  you Cliff and Lee for your insights and opinions. I believe I am going to go the route that Lee discusses since I only have 5 workstations that are currently on the old Domain and I have successfully utilized Profile Wizard in the past to migrate profiles. Starting from scratch will allow proper configuration as well as documentation going forward.
Thank you both for your time!
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Windows Server 2003

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