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When we started our company we have implemented Small Business Server 2003 on our (back then) only server.

Now we have grown, and the server is old and should be removed.

I would like to upgrade our network to a "normal" network.

The main reason for choosing SBS was the Exchange POP3 connector. We do not use that anymore, so we don't have a need for SBS.

What are the problems that I can expect? Or is this a normal, simple operation?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Sam beat me to this, as his answer came whilst I was typing mine. As Sam recommended, I will point you to the transition pack, from Microsoft. This knowledge article can also be very helpful, as well as this post, from which I quote one entry:

  1. Install Windows 2003 on a new computer.
  2. Setup TCP/IP using static IP and DNS pointing to the SBS DNS.
  3. Join it to the SBS domain.
  4. Install DNS and WINS (if you have Exchange and VPN connection, it is better to install WINS).
  5. Run adprep /forestprerp to extend your Active Directory forest's schema.
  6. Promote the Windows 2003 to be a DC by running dcpromo. When the Domain Controller Type displays, select Additional domain controller for an existing domain. then follow the instruction to finish the process.
  7. After rebooting the new DC, change the DNS and WINS point to the new DC IP.
  8. Make the new DC as a Global Catalog Server. To do that, open Active Directory Sites and Services. Expand Sites, Expand Servers, then expand NTDS Settings. Right click NTDS Settings for the DC and Click Properties. Check Global Catalog.
  9. Transferring the FSMO roles to the new DC. 1) Open Active Directory Users and Computers. Right-click on the domain name and selectOperations Masters. In the RID tab, click the change button to change the RID Master role to the new DC. Repeat this for each of the other tabs (PDS and Infrastructure). 2) To transfer the Domain Naming Master, Open Active Directory Domains and Trusts. Right-click on it and select Operations Master. Click the change button to change the Operations Master to the new DC. 3) to transfer the Schema Master role, follow these steps: a) Go to command line and run regsvr32 schmmgmt.dll, and then click OK. b) Run mmc, and then add Active Directory Schema. c) Right-click Active Directory Schema, and then click Change Domain Controller. Specify the new DC server name. d) Right-click Active Directory Schema, and then click Operations Master. In the Change Schema Master dialog box, click Change.
  10. Move the site licensing server from the SBS 2003 to the new DC. To do this, open Active Directory Sites and Services. Expand Sites and then click Default-First-Site-Name. Right-click Licensing Site Settings, and then click Properties. Click Change, type the name of DC in the Enter the object name to select area, and then click OK.
  11. Reboot the DC. Check Event ID 1119 or 1869 on the DC to make sure the DC is a GC.
  12. To remove the GC from SBS, open Active Directory Sites and Services. Expand Sites, Expand Servers, then expand SBS NTDS Settings. Right click NTDS Settings for Exchange01 and click Properties. Uncheck Global Catalog.
  13. Demote SBS. To do this, Click Start, Run, type dcpromo and click OK. Following the instruction. After that, the SBS will be a member server. To remove SBS from the domain, right click My Computer and select properties. Click the Computer Name tab and click the Workgroup radio button. Enter WORKGROUP for the new workgroup name and click OK. You will be prompted to reboot.

Bottom line, I do not see any major problems on a migration from SBS 2003 to 'regular' Windows Server 2003.

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Why would you see any problems? It's a supported migration. However, you will LOSE features. In particular, there is no equivalent of the Remote Web Workplace once you migrate away from SBS. – Tim Long Oct 2 '09 at 2:27
@Tim Long: You are commenting on the wrong person's answer. I am simply answering the original question. – user1797 Oct 2 '09 at 15:43
@DC Au contraire, while the OP may have come to a decision, based on the reasoning given I don't think it is the right decision. I feel that it is better to help people come to the right decision than to help them blunder into the wrong one. For example, thinking that the POP3 connector is the only reason to uses SBS misses the fact that the Remote Web Workplace application has no equivalent on 'vanilla' Server 2003/2008. In my view (you're free to diagree) the only real reason to migrate away from SBS is if the company has >75 users, in which case Essential Business Server is the smart move. – Tim Long Oct 4 '09 at 17:17

Unless you now require more than 75 licenses (the maximum allowed for SBS) then upgrading away from SBS will simply cost you more money for less features and will be harder to manage. Your stated reason for using SBS was the POP3 connector, but in fact that is an awful reason to use SBS anyway, since email delivery is much more appropriately handled by SMTP directly to your exchange server (the POP3 connector has its issues and was intended as a temporary migration strategy).

My recommendation: staty with SBS. You can still add additional member servers to an SBS network if that is your only concern.

If, even after this advice, you still feel that you need to migrate away from SBS, then the transition pack is your best bet as that's the cheapest way to get your additional licenses. You'll need to DCPromo another server and transfer the 5 FSMO roles to the new server, the Small Business Server can then be DCPromo'd off the domain.

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I know (now) about the pop3 connector. – GvS May 11 '09 at 12:34
There are very few reasons NOT to use SBS if you already have it. Many people who try to move away from it don't understand it. To be clear: You cannot have more than one SBS server on the network - you CAN have as many servers as you like, INCLUDING additional domain controllers. The restriction is that SBS servers MUST be the FSMO master DC - since you can't have more than one FSMO master DC in an SBS network, you can only have one SBS server. Other DCs can function fine as long as you don't transfer FSMO roles to them. If you are growing beyond 75 users consider migrating to EBS instead. – Multiverse IT Sep 20 '09 at 12:32
@Tim Long, I think you are missing the OP point. He isn't asking for advise on whether or not to keep his SBS up. He has made up his mind, to move on, and wants to make sure there will be no problems by doing so. – user1797 Oct 2 '09 at 15:46

It really depends how you want to do it. You can get the transition pack from Microsoft that will convert your licences from SBS to single components and remove the 75 user limit of SBS, you could then move this to a new server.

Alternatively you can install a new DC and Exchange server and move your users and data across, usually quite a smooth process. However, there are some problems, as stated here the FSMO roles are restricted to running on the SBS server. If you were to use the transition pack I believe you could then move them, but if you are adding just a new DC to the domain, you won't be able to move them from the SBS server, quite a big issue.

I'm also not sure how SBS will function if you try to add another Exchange server to the Exchange organisation.

My feeling is that the best bet is to get the transition pack, you will then have what is essentially the separate components of SBS, you can then look at adding new servers, transferring roles and turning of the SBS server.

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