How to copy or move Active Directory to new server

10 pts.
Active Directory
Active Directory migration
Microsoft Windows Server 2003

I am very new to Active Directory. My problem is I need to move my Active Directory to a new server. The current server is running on Windows 2003 STD and the new server is also running on  Windows 2003 STD. Only the hardware is changed. DNS is not installed on my current server. Please help me migrate my ADS to a new server without reconfiguring client PCs. There is more that 150 users.

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Hi you can do this my seizing the FSMO roles; briefly you make the new server a member of the AD and then transfer all roles and the DSN zones to the new one.
For more information read this article and the next one.

Not much to it. All you need to do is promote the new server to a domain controller. It replicates all data and you can also setup DNS zone transfers to replicate that as well. Then do as stated above to seize all FSMO roles. It is recommended that you have at least two domain controllers in any Active Directory deployment, so it would be a good idea to keep the second around as a backup DC.


Let’s assume that your new server is already member of the domain and DNS is working properly. Promote the new server to a domain controller using DCPROMO. Just open the command prompt and type DCPROMO, and then follow the prompt.

After the DCPROMO process is completed, you can then proceed to gracefully transfer the FSMO roles from the old DC to the new DC. Contrary to what has been advised above as (“seize all FSMO” which mean brute force) which is not recommended unless you have to, there is NO NEED to use brute force to transfer a FSMO role in this case since both domain controllers are operational. Google “How to transfer FSMO roles”.

The best solution is to have Active Directory integrated DNS. It means that Active Directory will also host the DNS database, instead of a flat file based DNS. To convert to AD Integrated DNS, follow this article.

Remember, Active Directory is very dependent of DNS. That said, please ensure that DNS server services are successfully transferred to the new Domain Controller before you decommission the old domain controller. Furthermore, a DNS server shall be available and properly functioning before you initiate any changes to the Active Directory configuration.

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  • palicos
    It should have never been allowed to get to this state.. There was a management failure here.  You can't join machines to the domain, this rules out adding a secondary DC.. I'm starting to wonder if the users machines are actually authenticating with the domain or using cached logons.. have you investigated what is causing the crashes .. are there any minidumps in the c:\windows\minidump folder? have you tried any hardware trouble shooting?The question comes to mind.. is it hardware or software or a combination of the two.. Given this state of affairs I'd wager that current backups are also out of the question... Now is the time to test your non-existent disaster recovery policy. It is my opinion that you are up the proverbial creek without a paddle and now you are left with having to rebuild to domain..
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