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Domain Controller upgrade failure - help needed to sort out the mess

Posted on 2016-07-17
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Last Modified: 2016-07-20
We have 3 x DC's on site.  We are in the process of upgrading them all to 2012r2.

Yesterday I began with first one, a 2008r2 machine ("DC3") which I was doing an in-place upgrade to 2012r2 (yeah, I know that this was a mistake now).

This server does NOT have any FSMO roles.

Everything seemed to go fine with the in-place upgrade until I installed the 250+ Windows updates.  When I rebooted the server just hang on the loading screen.  I tried everything to get it going, but I had no luck.  After trying to fix boot records etc the machine was even trying to boot into its old 2008r2 OS.  Not good.

In the end I had to admit defeat and rebuild the machine from scratch.  I gave it the same name and IP address.

However, as I was not able to cleanly demote this DC I had to perform a metadata cleanup.

Once I had completed the metadata cleanup, I added the rebuilt DC to the domain and promoted it via the GUI.  I had a couple of snags regarding the GUI hanging on "Creating the NTDS settings object", but I was able to resolve it by following this fix:  

https://andernetwork.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/active-directory-2012-installation-stalls-at-the-creating-the-ntds-settings-object/

(in particular the comment by fulloutpullin)

So, everything appeared to complete OK, but I have some problems....

1.) If I look in AD sites and Services, the new DC is there but the NTDS settings are empty.
2.) If I open DNS on one of the other two DC's and try to add DC3 it fails.
3.) I cannot ping or RDP to DC3 (the firewall is off)

I need help to know what to do next!  

Should I attempt to fix the problem?
Should I demote DC3 again (hoping it does it cleanly), rebuild the server from scratch and start again with a different name and IP?
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Question by:fieldj
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4 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:fieldj
ID: 41716328
I have been doing some research and wonder if I problem might be caused by the fact that I set the DNS settings on the NIC on DC3 as follows BEFORE configuring DNS...

Preferred  DNS Server XXX.XX.4.21 (this is DC3's own IP)
Second: XXX.XX.4.26 (DC1)
Third: XXX.XX.4.33 (DC2)
Fourth: 127.0.0.1

I am wondering if I have created a DNS 'island'?  (although the blogs etc I have read seem to suggest this is only an issue with Server 2003 and earlier).
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Accepted Solution

by:
Malmensa earned 500 total points
ID: 41716352
If this were me, I would rebuild the box from bare metal in a heartbeat. Patch it fully prior to making it a DC.

Although upgrading a DC is technically supported, I would advise strongly against it.  This path rarely fails, and is usually way easier and cleaner than upgrading.
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:DrDave242
ID: 41719896
It wouldn't hurt to change the DNS settings so that it only uses the other two DCs for DNS until all of the issues are ironed out.

3.) I cannot ping or RDP to DC3 (the firewall is off)

The firewall service isn't stopped, is it? That causes all kinds of network-related issues in my experience.
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Author Comment

by:fieldj
ID: 41720255
HI all,

Just to confirm I had to rip this up and start from the beginning again - with a different name for the DC.

Doe to the problems I had during setup, I also couldnt cleanly demote it so had to do a metacleanup again.

I think the DNS settings were certainly causing complications.
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