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I have a domain ( consisting of two active directory servers (also DNS servers). I have used VMWare vSphere Converter to p2v the primary AD server. This VM is now running in "host-only" mode in VMWare. I would like to bring the VM fully online with a different domain so I can test other services with this machine without making VMs of every existing server.

Ideally the VM would be an AD DC for I tried to the "Change Domain..." mini-wizard in the active directory mmc but this seems to only change to an existing domain. How can I change to a new, never-used domain but retain the same active directory data?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I can think of 3 things to try.

  1. You can rename the AD domain. I DO NOT recommend this, as it could potentially cause issues. I've never heard of anyone in the real world actually doing this.

  2. Export your existing data using the LDIFDE tool. This will leave you with an LDIF file that you can then modify. You'll want to do a find/replace on all instances of the old domain name in the file and replace with the new one. You'll also want to make sure that you change the "changetype:" entries to ADD. Then import this file into a brand new AD installation. This is what I've done in the past to set up my test AD domain. It gets me close enough for the testing I need to do, but I'll admit it doesn't get everything.

  3. Keep utilizing your p2v'd copy of your current AD, just make sure that it's on a private non-routable vLAN. That way you can play in a sandbox that you know you can't get out and interfere with your production AD.

Really it depends on what you're trying to achieve here. The 3rd option is the best, as you're getting the real thing. I don't know many places that set up an "exact" copy of their existing AD for testing. If you decide to create it manually, just try to get it as close as you can, but realize some settings may be missing.

Good Luck.

edit: grammar

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I'm doing #2 fairly successfully. It helps that I've had LDAP experience before. – Puddingfox May 10 '11 at 16:50

You can rename the domain if all the DCs are running Win2k8 and you are in the 2008 functional mode. This TechEd article walks through the steps. It is a bit complicated to recreate here

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I, too, wouldn't likely do this for a Production domain without much testing. – uSlackr May 9 '11 at 18:59

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