I've got three Windows servers running Active Directory: Two Win2000 Servers and a Win2003 Server. For a long time there was only one Win2000 AD server, so it probably has all the roles (although I haven't actually checked yet).
When I demote the original system it will release any roles it has. So are the odds good that the Windows 2003 server will take them all? Is there a delegation process? Or does the first system to reply take them?
I just want to make sure that the remaining Win2000 server stays as a backup and doesn't take over the domain.

Edit 04/2012:
I found the Microsoft KB 238369 that made me ask this question:

NOTE: When a domain controller is demoted, if it is not the last domain controller in the domain, it performs a final replication and then transfers the roles to another domain controller. As part of the demotion process, the Dcpromo utility removes the configuration data for the domain controller from Active Directory. [snip] If the domain controller is a global catalog, that role is not transferred to another domain controller. In this case, you must manually select the check box in Active Directory Sites and Services Manager for another domain controller to take over the role

  • This is good info no matter what the version of Windows; I've had several occasions where I needed to move my AD infrastructure around(whether to upgrade AD server OS, change hardware, virtualize AD infrastructure, or whatever)... +1 for having asked the question so I could easily find the answer this time!
    – jnaab
    Jun 14, 2011 at 15:20

4 Answers 4


From one of the DCs run netdom query /domain:<yourdomain> fsmo to find what servers hold what roles. Then manually Transfer any roles the 2000 server holds as per: How to view and transfer FSMO Roles

  • I thought I read that the roles were migrated on demotion automatically, but I must have just imagined it! Apr 21, 2011 at 18:36
  • ...I always know what needs to be done, but end up searching for the specifics on how to do it; +1 for providing both the syntax of the nedom query that confirms where FSMO roles are provisioned and a link to the authoritative Microsoft KB article in a single concise answer for me to find!
    – jnaab
    Jun 14, 2011 at 15:25

It won't happen automatically, you will need to move the roles manually to the server that will be the new role holder.


Transfer the FSMO roles to your Win2K3 server, see:

How to view and transfer FSMO roles in Windows Server 2003

How to view and transfer FSMO roles in the graphical user interface


Move the roles manually to the available server.

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