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I have a Windows 2000 Server Standard Edition server (that's right, standard) on a home network with three systems doing basic file/print sharing (and a few other services). Until recently the systems were running XP Home, but I now have them updated to either XP Pro or Vista Ultimate. I also have a Server 2000 Advanced product key + license that I acquired at the same time as the Standard license.

Now that every machine on the network will support being joined to a domain I would like to update the server to Advanced with Active Directory. Can I do this in place, or do I need to re-install from scratch? What do I need to know to get Active Directory set up?

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... windows 2000? – Darren Kopp May 17 '09 at 23:01
Yes, 2000. My 2000 licenses are legal, but I'm not in a position to pay for 2003 (or a computer that will run it). It's this or switch to a linux-based server. – Joel Coel May 17 '09 at 23:31
up vote 0 down vote accepted

There is no advantage to running Windows 2000 Server Advanced unless you have a lot of cpus / cores or a lot of ram. Windows 2000 Server Standard will run Active Directory. My guess is your current install utilizes all your hardware fine.

Run dcpromo to install Active Directory.

I would also say that Active Directory is probably overkill on a 4 computer network.

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Windows 2000 Professional is the desktop edition, not server. Are you talking about Windows 2000 Advanced Server? You can run dcpromo on the server to install AD and make it a domain controller.

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D'oh! Yes, that should read 'Advanced'. Can I do that to the current standard install? – Joel Coel May 17 '09 at 23:00
Ok. Alas, no. There is no upgrade path from Win2000 Standard to Win2000 Advanced server. Here are the options:;en-us;Q232039. – squillman May 18 '09 at 1:41

I agree, AD is overkill for a home network, especially if you need to linger on Windows 2000 to do it. If you don't want to shell out, why not try out a Gnu/Linux distro? One with lots of users (eg Ubuntu or Fedora) is likely to have more documentation or help available out there for setting up any given use case.

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