RDS 2012 R2 but AD functional level is 2003

Alfred Lim
Alfred Lim used Ask the Experts™
HI Exprts,

would like to implement RDS 2012 R2 in the environment but the AD functional level is 2003,

would it cause any problems?

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Network Security Engineer
Distinguished Expert 2018
As long the AD 2003 is the primary domain controller, I dont see any issue. You can install RDS in your Server 2012.


Hi Hemil,

Thanks for your reply.

is the any link from Microsoft to show the RDS requirement for the functional level? as i cant find any.

Hemil AquinoNetwork Security Engineer
Distinguished Expert 2018

I dont have any link to give you but based on my experience I can give you ideas.
I had mix of 2003 and 2012 DCs in place in an effort to get rid of the 2003 DCs very soon and had no issues deploying RDS on Server 2012.  my domain functional level was 2003.

If you want to remove the 2003 there's many ways

Ensure you have SP2 installed for Exchange 2003
Build and join the 2012 R2 server to domain
Promote the DC, note with the new DC promotion role the adprep is run during the role install / config for you.  So no need to do it from disk.
Transfer FSMO roles if you want, or leave them on the 2008 DC.
Demote Windows 2003 SP2 Domain Controller
Raise domain functionality level as desired.

As a good practice do this under lab environment first

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