I have an existing Active Directory in house, a mix between a Win2K8R2 and Win2K3 domain, and i would like to test out Windows Server 2012 Essentials BETA on the network. When walking though the install, it gives me the option of a new domain, or migrating from an existing domain. when clicking existing, it tells me i can only have one SBS server running on a domain at a time... So, i dont have any existing SBS servers in house (both are full standard or enterprise editions) but i do plan on keeping at least one of these extra servers running... So, how do i get a 2012 Essentials server to join a domain, and not migrate the existing domain? or if i do migrate, can i still get one of the other boxes to act as secondary controllers?

  • 1
    It's a really bad idea to mix beta software in with your production domain. If you have the hardware to run this, set it up a hyper-v or vmware host with, say, just the new server OS plus two clients.
    – Joel Coel
    Jul 23 '12 at 18:17

This is an old question about beta but the same idea applies to RTM as well.

I just did this, and here's the situation. You can choose to migrate or create a new domain - if you migrate, and the source is NOT SBS but a normal AD environment, everything is happy (this is documented for example here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/sbs/archive/2012/08/24/migrating-to-windows-server-2012-essentials.aspx). (If it is SBS or EBS there are special rules around decommissioning the old server, etc.)

The only hiccup was the new environment didn't know anything about my users in the old environment. This is a documented issue with an easy fix: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg186128.aspx

  1. On the Destination Server, open a Command Prompt window as an administrator.
  2. Type cd "\Program Files\Windows Server\Bin", and press ENTER.
  3. Type WssPowerShell.exe, and then press ENTER.
  4. Type Import-WssUser -SamAccountName <username>, and then press ENTER.
  • I should also mention Microsoft has some simple scripting to do this for a bulk import: technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg186128.aspx Dec 17 '12 at 22:07
  • Another point: The MediaAdmin managed service account was busted. Fixed with admin PowerShell: Set-ADServiceAccount MediaAdmin -Enabled $true and Install-ADServiceAccount MediaAdmin Dec 17 '12 at 23:20

I'm not finding good documentation about this from Microsoft, but based on the error messages you're seeing in the beta product still referencing Small Business Server (SBS) I am going to answer on the basis of how the SBS product operates.

You will need to migrate, demoting the current domain controller (DC) to a member server and transferring the Active Directory Flexible Single-Master Operation (FSMO) roles to the new DC. Once you've done that you can re-promote the existing machine back to being a secondary DC for the domain.

The limitation in SBS has, historically, been on having multiple Windows Server SBS machines. You can only have one. You can have as many secondary DCs as you want, however.

Having said all that, I'd be really concerned with migrating a production Active Directory domain onto a beta platform. Hopefully this is just a test lab that you're working with.

  • thanks for the answer. that sounds like what i will probably need to do... This is not really "production" in a work sense, but more production in a home sense... hence the mention of "in house"... Actually my house! :) anyway, i agree about the BETA... Guessing then Essentials is further behind Win2012 proper? may wait a little longer then...
    – TiernanO
    Jul 23 '12 at 19:35

As the installer already tells you, no, you cannot run more than one Domain Controller when the existing Domain Controller is SBS.

This also obviously limits its use for inclusion into an existing domain.

  • the existing domain controller is NOT SBS though... its a full Windows Server... there are already 2 AD servers running...
    – TiernanO
    Jul 23 '12 at 12:44
  • However, as the installer told you, ADDING an SBS server requires the SBS server to be the ONE AND ONLY domain controller.
    – adaptr
    Jul 23 '12 at 12:48
  • Is that something new? I can screenshot you right now... a SBS2003 with two additional 2008R2 domain controllers running. They 2003DC must retain the FSMO roles, but it allows other DC. Here however, I do not think you can go the opposite direction. Jul 23 '12 at 13:10
  • and I suggest you create a new domain and keep this indpendent, and you should put it in its own subnet/network for now so it can't announce itself as master browser and play havoc with your existing stuff :) Jul 23 '12 at 13:11
  • and why wouldn't you just try out normal server 2012 instead of essentials? :) Jul 23 '12 at 13:12

An alternative way would be also to demote the server: http://www.tinkertry.com/ws2012e-domain-removal/ although it seems a bit risky and not officially supported, and some things might break.

I am in a similar situation. We in our company have 12 developers but our BizSpark startup program offers only 7 MSDN subscriptions. This means that 5 developers won't have CALs (client access licenses) to access any Standard edition of Windows Server. As Essentials edition offers 25 user accounts without a need for CALs, we chose Essentials as a base for our very first small development environment server.

But now there is an issue: we would like to install SQL Server and TFS on it. And SQL Server yells at me - Warning, there might be problems when installing on a domain controller. So we decided to try the risky way - ripping the domain controller out of Windows Server Essentials.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.