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We're in the process of installing a brand new Windows Server 2008 Web cluster and we would like to synchronize some files between the servers. The problem is that the DC in the domain is an old Windows Server 2003 Standard (NOT R2) which apparently doesn't contain some extension to the AD schema. Is it possible to upgrade the schema without upgrading the DC servers to R2?

When I try to create a Replication Group on the 2008 Server I get the following message:

srv.XXXXXX.XX: The Active Directory Domain Services schema on domain controller
activedc07.srv.XXXXXX.XX cannot be read. This error might be caused by a schema
that has not been extended, or was extended improperly. See Help and Support
Center for information about extending the Active Directory Domain Services
schema. Schema version 30 is not supported.
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, you can upgrade your schema to accomodate the additional features without actually upgrading the operating system on your DCs.

See steps for extending the schema on TechNet.

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The article says "Applies To: Windows Server 2003 R2" at the very top. But if I understand you correctly it should also apply to Windows Server 2003? – JohannesH Mar 30 '10 at 8:03
Yes, it "applies to" R2 because the article is referring to the schema updates that come with R2, but once you apply the schema updates to AD, there's no reason you must upgrade any of your DCs to R2. – ThatGraemeGuy Apr 7 '10 at 19:02

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