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Can a server running Windows Server 2012 R2 (file server, app server, etc.) exist on a network with Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controllers, or do the DC's need to be upgraded first?

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Q: Can a server running Windows Server 2012 R2 (File server, app server, etc.) exist on a network with Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controllers? A: Yes. – joeqwerty Jul 25 '14 at 20:09
    
Thanks, all. That was the answer for which I was hoping. – Jeanne Jul 25 '14 at 22:38

Can a server running Windows Server 2012 R2 (File server, app server, etc.) exist on a network with Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controllers

Yes. For that matter, you can join practically any version of Windows (from 2000 onward) to that domain without any problems, or touching the domain controllers. The operating system on your domain controllers has essentially nothing to do with which operating system(s) the member servers can run.

The main impact of the domain controllers' operating systems is the domain and forest functional levels of your domain and forest, and those determine which Active Directory features are available.

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Thank you for the reply and link. Good information. – Jeanne Jul 25 '14 at 22:49

Yes this can be done as Windows Server 2008 R2 server does not see and recognise the member server OS version. Even Linux OS can join to Windows Server 2008 R2 Domain. The only issue that will prevent you from joining 2012 R2 to server 2008 R2 is the forest and domain functional level. If you have the functional level to Windows 2012 R2 then you will be able to have full access of all the features in server 2012 R2 without any restrictions.

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Sure it can, we have things set up just like that in our office. As long as you do not make it a DC, you should be fine.

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-1 Why can't he make it a DC? He can have Server 2012 R2 Domain Controllers on a 2008 R2 FL forest/domain. I have a bunch of forests like that myself, because the current ADMT requires a Server 2008 R2 target server on the new domain. – HopelessN00b Jul 25 '14 at 20:21
    
He is a she and thanks again! – Jeanne Jul 25 '14 at 22:40

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