We have a new 2008 R2 server to be replacing a 2003 R2 server (which is a DC and has DNS/DHCP/DFS/etc.). Here's an outline of my plan...

  1. Rename the old server to ServerOld
  2. Give the new server the name of the original server (Let's say Server)
  3. Migrate all services to the new server
  4. Demote ServerOld from being a DC and unjoin it from the domain

Are there any issues arising from renaming a DC and then giving a new server its old name immediately afterward?

  • When you say that you have a new server, is it a physical server or is it a VM? Is the old server a physical or virtual server? How many DC's in the domain? – joeqwerty May 16 '12 at 19:54
  • They are both physical server boxes, and there are other DCs besides this one. – Bigbio2002 May 16 '12 at 19:56

If the server is only performing DC/DNS services, this is usually safe; just be sure to reboot it a couple of times, because a single reboot may not be enough to fix everything.

Also, make sure the server is not hosting any other service (file shares, database...), or you could run into problems.

For reference, there are two well-known cases in which you absolutely can't rename a Windows server: if it's a Certification Authority, or if it's running Exchange.

  • The server does have file shares; as I mentioned, the server is running DFS. What problems could I encounter? – Bigbio2002 May 16 '12 at 19:50
  • You'll have to remove it from the DFS anyway, if you're going to decommission it... just make sure to do this before renaming it. – Massimo May 16 '12 at 20:59
  • Can you elaborate on that? – Bigbio2002 May 16 '12 at 21:18

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