migration to new active directory domain

AdvNetSol used Ask the Experts™

I have been asked by marketing to make our old company name disappear from login prompts and shared drives.  We have three domains currently in use, and these need to be changed to the new name of our company.  That is all marketing cares about, is the appearance (what's new right - marketers only concerned with the surface).  So, with that being said, I am looking for feedback so I can present decision makers with the following:

Problems we will encounter, downtime, cost, benefits (i don't think there will be any from a technical standpoint), any other information that could weigh into the decision to make this happen would be appreciated.  Currently, I'm not looking for exact details on how to do this, but more birds eye view of what management should be made aware of in relation to business processes and problems that could be encountered because of this request.  Any experiences and insight will be greatly appreciated.
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
AmitIT Architect
Distinguished Expert 2017

Yep, I have similar request and ask me, it is way more complex. User migration still easy, however computer object migration is very complex and require lot of downtime and manual effort. If environment is big, it will becomes challenging.


how do you plan to address the issue of users getting new SID causing their local workstation profile to be rebuilt?  Is there simply a way to change the domain by using an alias instead of having to worry about creating a new domain and setting trusts and relationships to map security permissions?
If you use the ADMT tool and enable sid history to perform the computer migration one of the steps is security translation between the old and new domains. What this essentially does is modify the permissions so that when the user logs into the new domain they will retain their settings (desktop, printer, favorites, etc) from their old profile. We did this a few times for approximatley 400-500 comptuers and it worked well with the exception of  a few problem machines.

If you do run into problem machines or your domain is small enough with few computers you can do this manually or scripted using Profwiz

I would reccomend the ADMT as your primary tool and profwiz as a fallback. Also quest makes a really nice but expensive domain migration tool.
Should you be charging more for IT Services?

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden using our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Start calculating Now!

MacleanSystem Engineer
I feel a can of worms :)
Make sure you read this document from Microsoft


The domain rename operation has been well documented on this Microsoft Technet Blog.
It will give you part of the solution, but as DvNetSol stated, you still will have issues potentially with user SID's etc.


Have also located a technet article on this


And finally some notes on domain rename incompatibilities with older Domain Controllers (2008 and below)
The following article lists a few programs which won't work if you are on an older AD level and do a rename


If you do wish to perform an AD rename with an unsupported version of the listed apps, you need to create a new AD forest, install that app into the new forest, and migrate all the objects.
This is very time intensive and many not be realistic to undertake.

A potential workaround for Exchange would be to register the new domain name on that server manually, and create a redirect for your old email addresses if applicable.
Would highly recommend having a full domain and server backup verified and tested, or assistance from Microsoft or another company to assist with this task if internal resources do not suffice. Do not perform any of these suggestions if you are not sure on the outcome, or do not have the appropriate expertise in house to resolve any issues which could occur from such a rename. (Unless perhaps you got time and are pretty sure that you can restore the whole domain from backups)
Top Expert 2014
When you do a domain rename, there is no problem with SIDs (as they all stay the same).  Users continue to use the same profile as before.  Domain renames can be done without issue using 2003+ domain controllers, with the caveat of incompatible applications (like any version of Exchange other than 2003).  So if you have incompatible applications, your only option is to set up new domains and do a migration, or to remove those applications from your environment, do the rename, then add them back in.

Speaking as someone who's done a domain rename (with Exchange 2003), the cleanup afterward involved:
- had to reconfigure any services on any machine that was set to logon with a domain account
- saw some issues with SQL Server 2005 (don't know if it's dependent on version) where maintenance tasks wouldn't use the new domain name
- there's some steps for reconfiguring CA info.  Because I had only deployed one certificate at the time, I just chose to remove it and then add a new one.
- some other applications you may find aren't compatible with a domain rename until you test personally (the info just doesn't seem to be available on the internet)
- getting remote computers to pick up the name change is involved, and the procedure can vary depending on your VPN connection method


all, thank you for your feedback.  I was able to make what i feel is a fairly informed report to mgmt and now get to wait for them to respond.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial