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I've run into a small problem which I'd like to be absolutely certain about and I hope that you can aid me in this.

We have an existing 2003 domain - schema version 30 - where I've identified a single point of failure regarding one of our domains. We'd like to get another DC up and running but we only have 2003 R2 available from our VLSC.

When I try to do a dcpromo on a new 2003 R2 server I'm being informed that it's not possible since the schema version isn't compatible and that I need to do an AD- and forest preparation. On the other hand, I've been informed that it's absolutely possible to add a 2003R2 server as domain controller to a 2003 domain without doing the preparation.

If this is true, how is this done? Initial Google'ing haven't yielded any results so far.

There's no problems in doing an forest preparation but we're in an ongoing project of upgrading to a 2008 R2 platform so AD and forest preparations are already scheduled. All I'd like is to eliminate this SPOF in the meantime.

Thank you for your time.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

2003 R2 uses schema v31

so you need to run

adprep /forestprep

you must use adprep from the 2nd R2 disc and run it on your existing schema master DC

 adprep /domainprep

you must use adprep from the 2nd R2 disc and run it on your infrastructure master for the domain

then you will be able to dcpromo the new DC

alternatively you should get downgrade rights to 2003 from 2003 r2 but getting hold of the right key/media is not always straightforward

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Okay, so we do agree that I an adprep is needed for this to work? I didn't understand it when I was told that R2 is able to work with a R0 domain without an adprep maneuvre. There's nothing about being able to dcpromo the 2003R2 with a functional level of a 2003R0? – Christian A. Dec 3 '10 at 10:36
ah well that is an interesting point. 2003 r2 is the same functional level as 2003 r0 but with extra features. The schema version is independant from the functional level. eg. if you were adding 2003 DCs to a 2000 network you would run them at a lower functional level but would still need to run adprep to update the schema first – JamesRyan Dec 3 '10 at 11:44
Okay, seems I'm confusing a few subjects. So it's the same functional level but we do agree that, contrary to what I was told, that a schema update is required to promote a 2003R2 server into an existing 2003R0 domain; being that 2003R0 is schema = 30 and 2003R2 is schema = 31, as far as I know? – Christian A. Dec 3 '10 at 12:00
@Christian, Schema and Function level are independent (mostly). Your Function level will stay the same. Both 2003 and 2003 R2 use the same Function level. 2003R2 requires Schema 31 however, and you are at 30. You must update the Schema to use 2003R2 as a DC. You can supersede the schema if you want, using the 2008 or 2008R2 schema, bu it is not necessary. Schema updates are not normally a big deal (unless you have custom schema, which is fairly rare). – Chris S Dec 3 '10 at 20:52
sorry for not getting back to you and thanks for clearing out these details for me. Your comments have been very helpfull and I sincerely thank you for your time. – Christian A. Mar 7 '11 at 9:38

I'd go with the down-level media approach. You should be able to download it from your VL portal.

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