moving from 2003 server to 2012 and wondering if i should join current domain and take over as domain controller or start over

bwierzbicki used Ask the Experts™
I've purchased 2012 standard.

I have been considering starting from scratch by creating a new domain and converting the 16 users from the old domain to the new domain, giving me a fresh start with a new server.

My other option obviously is to set up the new server to join the domain and take over as domain controller.
I have this feeling that a fresh start would be good, but I realize that it will probably take more work to accomplish. I also don't like the fact that when the current domain server was configured they used their external domain name instead of a subdomain of their external domain (i.e. instead of

Any thoughts are appreciated.

I plan to set it up with the "essentials experience" to be able to take advantage of client and server backup and health status reports.
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
I think it is up to you. You can set up the new server, migrate the old server over and demote it. If the old server has Exchange installed, you need to remove it (uninstall it) before starting. Lots of steps and it is not trivial to do this. We used a competent consultant to migrate a client from Server 2003 to Server 2012 over a weekend.

The Pluses of this:  Same domain, same user setups, and no one had any issue. People came in Monday and all was well. All the data was where they expected.

New domain: Easier to set up but unlikely to be exactly the same. Still, it will work.

Given the ability to budget the first choice, I prefer the first choice. Same domain and easier to keep another (different) server connected and going.
yo_beeDirector of Information Technology
There are some things to consider when starting from scratch

1: all computer need to be joined to the new domain
2: all users profiles need to be migrated
3: all NTFS security needs to be reapplied
4: all groups need to be recreated
5: I am probably missing a bunch more

If this is all because of a domain name I would not recommend it. If you are planning to revamp the entire setup of your AD then now is a good time.

There are methods to renaming a domain. I personally have not done this in my career.

Here is a link that outlines it pretty nicely.
Keeping the same domain is generally a much easier process, especially when it comes to keeping file permissions and security groups on the current domain.  You're also going to be able to save a lot of effort on the workstations, as you should be able to update most everything in the login script or Group Policies (as from the sounds of it you'll be moving the files and shares over as well).

I'd be sure to run a dcdiag and make sure the replication is running well after moving FSMO and prior to demoting the old DC to make sure everything is looking good.


thanks for all your answers

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