I've been looking for some best practice instructions on how to do this, but everything I have found thus far refers to an internal/AD-based DNS migration. This project is public-based DNS, no AD, primary DNS hosting is on Windows 2000 and I want to migrate it to Windows 2003 (secondary DNS is already Windows 2003.) At the moment, there are nearly 300 zones (domains) in the hosting environment. Thanks in advance.


Here's a way you can do it. It's old school and may not be the best method but it will work:

Since your current DNS is not AD integrated that means that all of the zone files are stored at %systemroot%\system32\dns. Copy all of the zone files on the old DNS server to the same location on the new DNS server. On the new DNS server create new non-AD integrated zones with the same names as the zones on the old server (which will be the same name as the filenames, such that: a zone named test.local will have a zone file named test.local.dns, just leave out the .dns when you're naming your zones), select the option to use an existing zone file (rather than creating a new zone file) and the DNS server will create a new zone from the file with all of the records intact.

Try it with a single zone file as a test and see if it works for you.


If your secondary already is running Windows 2003, and all the domains are setup then all you should have to do is switch your 2003 'secondary' server to primary for all the domains. Reinstall or replace your Windows 2000 server, and then set the new server up as a secondary.

  • Thanks for the heads-up, but that's not the current plan. In short, server B (the Win2003 secondary DNS server) is to remain "untouched" as part of the project. Basically, the only two players are server A (the current Win2000 primary DNS server) and server C (the new Win2003 sitting, waiting to become the primary DNS server.) Again, thanks for the note, but any advice you have for my scenario would be great. FYI: In short, server B cannot be "bothered" as it's doing secondary things, and has to remain doing them, during this migration process. – bsisupport Aug 27 '10 at 19:08
  • Can you setup a third server temporarily? Setup a third server, set it to be secondary for everything. After the zones are replicated Reinstall/Replace original server. Set it up as secondary for all the zones, after zones are transfered, switch the new server up as primary and remove the temporary box. – Zoredache Aug 27 '10 at 19:12
  • I can't. I also forgot to mention that server A goes away completely after this mess. It won't remain as part of the equation. – bsisupport Aug 27 '10 at 19:41
  • So where have I lost you? The point is you can simply switch a zone from secondary to primary. If all you are worried about is DNS, then just figure out the best order of events in your situation that allows you to roles. – Zoredache Aug 27 '10 at 19:49
  • Well, apparently I lost you somewhere along the way: 1) Current Primary DNS is a Windows 2000 Server box. This box is going away, for good. 2) The new Primary DNS environment is a Windows 2003 Server box. It is currently doing NO DNS related activites. 3) The current Secondary DNS environment is a server that will not be touched as part of this project. – bsisupport Aug 27 '10 at 20:03

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