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Thread: Replacing Windows 2003 domain controller running exchange 2003 with a new Server hardware

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Replacing Windows 2003 domain controller running exchange 2003 with a new Server hardware


    I have a PC running Windows 2003 standard edition server and Exchange 2003 enterprise edition acting as a domain controller with all 5 FSMO roles. This is the only server and i am tasked to replace it with a brand new server machine to run as it is. The server is configured with DNS and DHCP as well. I have about 20 users. As of what i have read in the forums I have to install windows 2003 server on the new machine, join it to the domain controller as a member server and then promote it (Please guide me if im right). Will this move all the AD data across to the new server? and does it move across all the configuration including the GPO's and the remote access configuration with DNS and DHCP? As far as the Exchange server migration is concerned what i have to do is after the new server is installed and the AD migration is completed i have to install the Exchange server on the new machine and after that i have no clue :(. I would appreciate if i can be guided step by step on this please.

    The server also has a shared drive where all users store their data. It also acts as a print server. Also is it possible to have the same server name as the old server name?

  2. #2
    Isaac Oben [MCITP:EA, MCSE] Guest

    Re: Replacing Windows 2003 domain controller running exchange 2003 with a new Server hardware

    Hello Saquibkhan,

    It is not always advisable to have AD and Exchange in the same server. But,
    put that aside, here are some guidelines to help you migrate from one server
    to the other. I am assuming your brand new server is windows server 2003 as
    well. If you have server 2008, then repost and you get more advise.

    1 - Prepare your new hardware, do RAID configuration as needed, install w2k3
    2- Configure a fixed IP address and make sure DNS is pointing to the old
    w2k3. Make show you can ping old server from new and vice versa and do
    nslookup etc
    3 - Start, run, type dcpromo and enter, promote server in existing domain,
    if prompted select yes to make it a an ad integrated dns server as well.
    4 -After server have been successfully promoted as a domain controller, give
    it some time to complete initialization and replication. verify that server
    is functioning properly as a domain controller by doing a dcdiag /q to look
    for any errors, do a repadmin /showreps and look for any errors (this might
    need for you to install w2k3 support tools which is also in the CD), do a
    net share to make sure sysvol is now being shared etc.
    5- Verify that DNS was properly installed in new server, open DNS console
    and verify settings, forward lookup zones and comapre with old server, do
    any adjustment as needed. If DNS is ok, change DNS of new server to point to
    itself as primary dns, do nslookup etc to test.
    6 -Transfer (NOT SEIZE) all 5 FSMO roles from old to new server and verify
    that roles have been transfered
    7 - Install and import DHCP database from old to new check that it was
    8 - Install land migrate exchange from old to new. see steps and ideas here

    9 - If exchange migration is successful, power off old server for atleast a
    week, make sure users are authenticating, and everything is working well
    with new server
    10 - Bring back old server online and decommission. run dcpromo and demote
    server, remove from domain and shutdown

  3. #3
    Meinolf Weber [MVP-DS] Guest

    Re: Replacing Windows 2003 domain controller running exchange 2003 with a new Server hardware

    Hello saquibkhan,

    For the new Domain controller see this way:

    - On the old server open DNS management console and check that you are running
    Active directory integrated zone (easier for replication, if you have more
    then one DNS server)

    - run replmon from the run line or repadmin /showrepl (only if more then
    one DC exist), dcdiag and netdiag from the command prompt on the old machine
    to check for errors, if you have some post the complete output from the command
    here or solve them first. For this tools you have to install the support\tools\suptools.msi
    from the 2003 installation disk.

    - run adprep /forestprep and adprep /domainprep from the second R2 2003 installation
    disk(if using the R2 version) against the 2003 server, with an account that
    is member of the Schema admins, to upgrade the schema to the new version

    - Install the new machine as a member server in your existing domain

    - configure a fixed ip and set the preferred DNS server to the old DNS server

    - run dcpromo and follow the wizard to add the 2003 server to an existing

    - if you are prompted for DNS configuration choose Yes (also possible that
    no DNS preparation occur), then install DNS after the reboot

    - for DNS give the server time for replication, at least 15 minutes. Because
    you use Active directory integrated zones it will automatically replicate
    the zones to the new server. Open DNS management console to check that they

    - if the new machine is domain controller and DNS server run again replmon,
    dcdiag and netdiag on both domain controllers

    - if you have no errors, make the new server Global catalog server, open
    Active directory Sites and Services and then double-click sitename, double-click
    Servers, click your domain controller, right-click NTDS Settings, and then
    click Properties, on the General tab, click to select the Global catalog
    check box (

    - Transfer, NOT seize the 5 FSMO roles to the new Domain controller (

    - you can see in the event viewer (Directory service) that the roles are
    transferred, also give it some time

    - reconfigure the DNS configuration on your NIC of the 2003 server, preferred
    DNS itself, secondary the old one

    - if you use DHCP do not forget to reconfigure the scope settings to point
    to the new installed DNS server

    - export and import of DHCP database (if needed) (

    - backup WINS (

    - restore WINS (

    It is not recommended to run exchange on domain controllers, better run it
    on a member server. If you still will do it you have also install exchange
    again and then move the mailboxes and public folders to the new installed
    exchange. After that you have to remove Exchange first before you can demote
    the old DC.

    See here about removing the first exchange server:

    How to remove the older DC, when exchange is uninstalled:
    reconfigure your clients/servers that they not longer point to the old DC/DNS
    server on the NIC

    - to be sure that everything runs fine, disconnect the old DC from the network
    and check with clients and servers the connectivity, logon and also with
    one client a restart to see that everything is ok

    - then run dcpromo to demote the old DC, if it works fine the machine will
    move from the DC's OU to the computers container, where you can delete it
    by hand. Can be that you got an error during demoting at the beginning, then
    uncheck the Global catalog on that DC and try again

    - check the DNS management console, that all entries from the machine are
    disappeared or delete them by hand if the machine is off the network for ever

    - also you have to start AD sites and services and delete the old servername
    under the site, this will not be done during demotion

    Best regards

    Meinolf Weber
    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers
    no rights.

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