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We're planning to replace a Windows 2000 domain controller with a new 2008 DC (new hardware).

We've elected to take the route of getting the 2000 domain schema up-to-snuff, join the 2008 server, upgrade it to a DC, and after replication demote the 2000 server (eventually to be taken off-line).

The goal being to not have to visit all the workstations, and limited domain down-time. :)

We want bring the old server here and do all the backups, Domain prep, migration and role transfers here, and then (hopefully) just plop the new 2008 back in place after it's done, and join the 2000 server back as a member server (so we can then do folder migrations, etc.).

Can this server work be done off-site, without the workstations attached?

If we do this will anything need to be done to the clients, once the new DC is physically in place, so they contact the new 2008 DC; or will they just 'know' and continue on using the existing domain settings/user profiles, etc.?

Thanks in advance! :)

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you are asking whether or not you can physically move a server to another location, set it up and perform a domain upgrade, the answer is it shouldn't matter where it is physically so long as it thinks it has the same networks available when you start it up in another location. Workstations will query DNS for a domain controller, so as long as the dns server that the workstations query against has been updated they will find the new DC.

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AD is multimaster - you could technically do this during the day and the clients would never notice. Caveat - they will need to get the new DC as a DNS server if it's going to keep a different IP than the old one. If you've got the DCs doing DHCP, then doing all of this off-hours is just fine. – mfinni Mar 12 '10 at 16:43
Thanks for the info guys! – techie007 Mar 12 '10 at 20:07

Unfortunately you cannot upgrade from Windows 2000 Active Directory to Windows 2008 Active Directory directly. You must first upgrade to Windows 2003 and then to Windows 2008. More about this can be found on Microsoft's Technet Article.

From the article:

To upgrade Windows 2000 Active Directory domains to Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domains, you must perform an in-place upgrade of all existing domain controllers running Windows 2000 in the forest to domain controllers running Windows Server 2003. Then, perform an in-place upgrade of those domain controllers to Windows Server 2008. A direct in-place upgrade of a Windows 2000 edition to a Windows Server 2008 edition is not supported.

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Thanks for the info (it's appreciated), but that's referring to upgrading the domain controller OS itself (in-place upgrade). You can't upgrade a Windows 2000 DC to 2008 directly, but that's not what we're aiming to do. We're upgrading the forest and domain schema and putting in a new 2008 server. See - "if the additional domain controller that you are installing is the first Windows Server 2008 domain controller in an existing Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server domain, ensure that the following tasks are completed..." – techie007 Mar 16 '10 at 20:51

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