Raising "Domain Functional" level from 2003 to 2008 as well as "Forest Functional" level from 2003 to 2008

A client of ours is still sitting at "Windows Server 2003" for both the "domain and forest" functional levels. They only have 1 x 2008 member server with the rest of the member servers being Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2 editions.

We are having SYSVOL replication issues (I believe that it is still trying to use FRS versus using DFS Replication as it should be. We are also having DNS issues that we believe may be related to this as well.

I want to raise both the domain and forest functional levels, is there a specific order that these need to be done in? Is there a reboot of any kind required? Services that need to be restarted?

I haven't done this in several years so any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Michael WAsked:
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Michael WAuthor Commented:
It should be noted that both DC's are running Server 2012

Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
No, you can raise them in either order.  

No, no reboot will be required.

No services will need to be restarted.

I've done this dozens of times.  One of the easiest admin things to do.  Never had it go sideways.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I would resolve your outstanding issues first, but you need to update the domain functional level before you do the forest.  There is no reboot and the member servers don't matter - functional levels - with RARE exception - only apply to the DCs (I think MDM had an issue at a too high functional level a few years back, but that's the only thing I've ever heard of having a requirement outside of the DCs)
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I've always done Domain before forest.  The domain is the smallest "unit" and that domain can operate at a higher level than others.  The Forest potentially includes other domains and I would prefer keeping that at the level of the lowest domain.  Therefore you upgrade the domain first, then the forest.

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Shaun VermaakTechnical SpecialistCommented:
Please recommend at least 2008 R2 to your client and enable recycle bin after forest upgrade
Michael WAuthor Commented:
Do we need to migrate FRS to DFS replication before upgrading the domain and forest functional levels?

Michael WAuthor Commented:
Thanks, it went well and was quick and easy.

Next steps: migrating to DFS replication from FRS
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Windows Server 2012

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