One of our Windows 2003 servers has reached it's end of life and I am trying to demote it so that it can be removed from the network. The PDC is still online, of course. I am getting this error:

Active Directory Installation Wizard
The operation failed because:

Active Directory could not transfer the remaining data in directory partition
CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=xxx,DC=NET to domain controller yyy.xxxx.NET.

"The RPC server is unavailable."

The RPC service is running on both servers. How can I get past the error and completely demote the server?

  • Can you force replication to the soon-to-be demoted DC from AD Sites and Services? – Christopher Oct 28 '10 at 22:08

Verify that the DC to-be-demoted has good DNS being hosted by another DC, rather than itself.

Personally, I'd fire up "Network Monitor" on the DC being demoted and see what it's trying to send across the wire when the error occurs. That's my style.

BTW: There are no "PDC" and "BDC" computers in Active Directory. What you're working with is a "DC". There is a DC that holds a special role called "PDC Emulator", but that doesn't make it a "PDC" in the old Windows NT 4.0 sense.

  • I actually removed the local DNS server, but the error remained. I was impatient and ran dcpromo /forceremoval, which is running right now. When it is done, do I need to do more than remove the reference to the server in the other DCs AD? – cdonner Oct 28 '10 at 22:13
  • 2
    /forceremoval is probably going to leave lingering objects, which you'll need to clean up. support.microsoft.com/kb/332199. – joeqwerty Oct 28 '10 at 22:26
  • @cdonner: joeqwerty has it. If you forced its removal then you're going to need to do an NTDS metadata cleanup. – Evan Anderson Oct 28 '10 at 22:28

You're looking for the Metadata cleanup procedure:

How to remove data in Active Directory after an unsuccessful domain controller demotion

We actually have to do this more often than I would like to admit. A DC in the field not plugged into a UPS, crashes about 200 times then has a corrupt index. We just re-image it and start over.

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