Currently I have a 2003 box running AD as the root OS on the system. I'd like to do this:

  1. Backup the AD and DNS configuration on the 2003 box.
  2. Wipe the drive(s) and install Hyper-V 2008 R2 as the root OS.
  3. Create a new VM with 2008 R2.
  4. Restore backup from step 1 onto new VM.

I can't find instructions for doing the back/restore portion. I'm hoping someone can offer some guidance.

  • 1
    this is probably the worst idea I have heard in a long time...why in the world would you want to do this?
    – August
    Sep 16, 2011 at 16:42
  • @August, can you elaborate? This is a home configuration, not corporate.
    – Josh M.
    Sep 16, 2011 at 16:45
  • @Josh M. - I suspect August is saying "You can't restore a backup from an older version of AD onto a newer version of AD" in a roundabout way. It won't work. Sep 16, 2011 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


You can't do what you're trying to do with Active Directory in that manner. What you can do (in very broad terms) is:

  • Setup your new Windows Server 2008 R2 VM on another machine, configuring it to use your existing Windows Server 2003 instance as its DNS server

  • Join the Windows Server 2008 R2 instance to your existing Active Directory domain and promote it to being a Domain Controller

  • Transfer the FSMO roles from the existing W2K3 DC to the new W2K8R2 DC

  • Demote the W2K3 DC from being a DC to a member server and disjoin it from the domain

  • Wipe the physical computer that was running W2K3, install W2K8R2 Hyper-V

  • Migrate the W2K8R2 DC VM over to the W2K8R2 Hyper-V computer

There's no other way to do what you're looking for in a "supported" manner (or, for that matter, in any manner I can think of that would preserve the existing AD environment).

  • 1
    This is a good solution. I will install Hyper-V on another box and get the VM setup, AD, promote, etc. Then move it over to the server after demoting/disjoining the 2003 AD and installing Hyper-V in its place. Then just move the VM over. Wish me luck!
    – Josh M.
    Sep 16, 2011 at 16:57

No. Don't do it. Setup a second DC. Replicate to that. Demote the first one. Wipe the machine. Install WS 2008 on it. You should have a second DC around anyways so this would be your best solution. A DC for a small organization doesn't need much in terms of resources. Just throw it on an old PC.

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