We have an old SBS 2003 server with a messed-up configuration, that I want to replace with a new SBS 2011 Standard installation. We're a small 20 user shop.

I don't have much faith in the 2003 AD setup, so I'd like to start from scratch with a fresh 2011 install. But here's the catch: I'd like to reuse the Domain name, simply since it's our company name and it's short and simple.

No clients are connected to AD anymore, in effect we're a workgroup now, but all employees are using their old AD account credentials to access various shares that are hosted on the server. Also, the server runs IAS, which is used to authenticate VPN users via Radius. I'd like these services to remain available until I have the new Domain running.

I've been thinking about migrating the SBS 2003 Domain to SBS 2011, but am afraid of all the cruft that I wil inherit. All I want is the name.

How can I 'remove' the AD Domain from the SBS 2003 server, in order to reuse it in SBS 2011, while keeping the shares and IAS available with the current credentials?

  • 1
    Setup SBS 2011 on a separate network. Once setup, swap out the old server. Use backups to transfer data between servers or disk Disk2VHD to create a VHD of the existing data and then mount it in 2011. (In fact, I am ONLY setting up SBS 2011 & other servers in VMs; nothing goes on the physical boxes except in rare circumstances. The performance hit is minimal and the flexibility provided is tremendous. (You can't demote SBS 2003 unless you're going to get rid of it - is must be the FSMO master DC or you're violating licensing and it shuts down every couple of hours after a grace period). Nov 10, 2011 at 17:06
  • Im creating the SBS 2011 server on our vSphere platform. Once you go VM you never go back :-). I'll be adding a 2008 R2 server as backup DC later so we have some redundancy. Nov 10, 2011 at 22:59

1 Answer 1


You can't "remove" the domain and still have authentication work. That being said, having 2 different domain controllers on the same LAN both claiming to be foobar.local is less difficult than you might think.

What you CAN do is this:

Server A - 2003 SBS Server B - 2011 SBS domain: foobar.local

Make sure ServerA and ServerB have different names (i.e. both cannot be SERVER or FILESHARE or WHATEVER).

Do not demote Server A from being a Domain Controller. That is, leave Active Directory intact. Make sure DNS/DHCP is running on Server B. Point all your workstations to use Server B for DNS. Make a static entry for Server A in the DNS of Server B. So long as your workstations are in a workgroup (that is, NOT joined to the domain hosted on Server B), they should be able to auth just fine against both servers when prompted for credentials.

If/when you join the workstations to the domain, you'll have to retire Server A instantly - everything will pretty much stop working. But before that you can run in a hybrid fashion, though it's not very pretty.

  • We're currently using a BIND DNS server, which has a static entry for Server A. I'm guessing your suggestion would work just as well in that setup. In other words: place Server B in the same network, add a temporary static DNS entry to BIND. Users can use both servers in workgroup mode. This gives me time to migrate fileshares and such to Server B. Then, when I'm ready to start joining users to the domain, I kill Server A and activate DNS & DHCP on Server B. Correct? Nov 14, 2011 at 12:26
  • Yep, pretty much. Nov 14, 2011 at 13:06

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