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We have a remote Domain Controller that is running Server 03'. I'm wanting to retire this box and move to the 03' box that we have locally.

I was looking at this guide, but wanted to ensure that it was the proper way to do an export/import and that the import wouldn't touch any of the existing scopes that the server has in place.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

There's an official Technet guide for this that I'd use, rather than that one.

The process below is a "merge," rather than what would normally be called an "import", and will only modify existing scopes if you import scopes that exist on the target server.

If that is the case, you'll need to selectively import scopes, instead of just using the /all switch. The Microsoft KB on importing/exporting specific scopes only is here.

As always, it's better safe than sorry, so you don't want to do anything without some form of backup. In this case, that can be achieved by exporting the database on the target DHCP server before importing the database from the other one. That way, in the event something goes wrong, you can always "restore" the configuration by importing the original database.

Finally, I personally wouldn't bother moving ANYTHING to a Server 2003 server, because I'd be doing everything I can to get rid of or upgrade anything running a decade old OS that's already end of support. (Unless you're paying for extended support, which I doubt). It also happens to be a bit easier to migrate your DHCP database to a DHCP server running Server 2008 R2 or 2012, either through the GUI or with the use of PowerShell.. but if that's not an option, it's not an option.


This step-by-step article describes how to move a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) database from a computer that is running Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Microsoft Windows 2000, or Microsoft Windows Server 2003 to a computer that is running Windows Server 2003.

Note: You can use the Microsoft Windows backup utility (ntbackup.exe) to back up and restore the DHCP database on a single server. Do not use the backup utility to migrate or to move a DHCP database from one DHCP server to another.

Export the DHCP database from a server that is running Microsoft Windows Server 2003

  • To move a DHCP database and configuration from a server that is running Windows Server 2003 to another server that is running Windows Server 2003:

    • Log on to the source DHCP server by using an account that is a member of the local Administrators group.
    • Click Start, click Run, type cmd in the Open box, and then click OK.
    • Type netsh dhcp server export C:\dhcp.txt all, and then press ENTER.

Note: You must have local administrator permissions to export the data.

Install the DHCP server service on the server that is running Windows Server 2003

  • To install the DHCP Server service on an existing Windows Server 2003-based computer:

    • Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click Add or Remove Programs.
    • Click Add/Remove Windows Components.
    • In the Windows Component Wizard, click Networking Services in the Components box, and then click Details.
    • Click to select the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) check box if it is not already selected, and then click OK.
    • In the Windows Components Wizard, click Next to install the selected components. Insert the Windows Server 2003 CD into your computer CD drive or DVD drive if you are prompted to do this. Setup copies the DHCP server and tool files to your computer. When Setup is complete, click Finish.

Import the DHCP database

Note: You may receive an "access denied" message during this procedure if you are not a member of the Backup Operators group. If you receive an "Unable to determine the DHCP server version for server" error message, make sure that the DHCP Server service is running on the server and that the user logged on is a member of the local Administrators group.

Important: Do not use Dhcpexim.exe to import a DHCP database in Windows Server 2003. Additionally, if the target Windows 2003 server is a member server, and if you plan to promote it to a domain controller, we suggested that you perform the DHCP database migration before promoting it to a domain controller. Although you can migrate the DHCP database to a Windows 2003 domain controller, the migration to a member server will be easier because of the existence of the local administrator account.

  • Log on as a user who is an explicit member of the local Administrators group. A user account in a group that is a member of the local Administrators group will not work. If a local Administrators account does not exist for the domain controller, restart the computer in Directory Services Restore Mode, and use the administrator account to import the database as described later in this section.
  • Copy the exported DHCP database file to the local hard disk of the Windows Server 2003-based computer.
  • Verify that the DHCP service is started on the Windows Server 2003-based computer. Click Start, click Run, type cmd in the Open box, and then click OK. At the command prompt, type netsh dhcp server import c:\dhcpdatabase.txt all, and then press ENTER, where c:\dhcpdatabase.txt is the full path and file name of the database file that you copied to the server.

    • Note: When you try to export a DHCP database from a Windows 2000 domain controller to a Windows Server 2003 member server of the domain, you may receive the following error message:

      • Error initializing and reading the service configuration - Access Denied
      • Note: You must have local administrator permissions to import the data.
      • To resolve this issue, add the Windows Server 2003 DHCP server computer to the DHCP Admins group at the Enterprise level.
      • If the "access is denied" error message occurs after you add the Windows Server 2003 DCHP server computer to the DHCP Admins group at the Enterprise level that is mentioned in step 4, verify that the user account that is currently used to import belongs to the local Administrators group. If the account does not belong to this group, add the account to that group, or log on as a local administrator to complete the import.

      • Note: If the DHCP IMPORT or EXPORT command fails for users who are not explicit members of the local Administrators group, you must apply the following hotfix on the Windows Server 2003-based computer:

833167 A Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) update package is available for Windows Server 2003

  • After you receive the message that the command completed successfully, quit the command prompt.

Authorize the DHCP server

  • Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click DHCP.

  • Note: You must be logged on to the server by using an account that is a member of the Administrators group. In an Active Directory domain, you must be logged on to the server by using an account that is a member of the Enterprise Administrators group.

  • In the console tree of the DHCP snap-in, expand the new DHCP server. If there is a red arrow in the lower-right corner of the server object, the server has not yet been authorized.
  • Right-click the server object, and then click Authorize.
  • After several moments, right-click the server again, and then click Refresh. A green arrow indicates that the DHCP server is authorized.
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We unfortunately are waiting for our Dev team to ensure our internal code will work with 08/12 :(...I would love to not move anything to 03, but that box needs retired and this box is our current DHCP server so...I'm stuck at the moment. –  Jared Feb 13 at 16:58
    
Also, I can't find any mention as to the safety of the existing data on the box. I just want to double check that the import won't modify the existing scopes. –  Jared Feb 13 at 16:59
    
@Jared It will only modify existing scopes if you import scopes that exist on the target server. If that is the case, you'll need to selectively import scopes, instead of just using the /all switch. The Microsoft KB on importing/exporting specific scopes only is here. –  HopelessN00b Feb 13 at 17:11
    
@Jared If you're worried about the safety of the operation, and just in general, you probably should export the database on the existing DHCP server before importing the new one. That way, in the event something goes wrong, you can always "restore" the configuration by importing the original database. I guess I'll edit this into my answer. –  HopelessN00b Feb 13 at 17:15
    
Worked like a charm. Thanks again. –  Jared Feb 13 at 17:51
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