We are going to set up a server environment for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. The system requirements mention that "Active Directory must be configured in native mode." In researching this requirement, I found a TechNet article describing six domain functional levels:

  • Windows 2000 mixed (the default in Windows Server 2003)
  • Windows 2000 native
  • Windows Server 2003 interim
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2

Looking at this list, it appears that our new software requires the domain functional level "Windows 2000 native." Is this correct? Or, is there a "native mode" for every domain functional level? Can a Windows Server 2008 R2 domain be configured in native mode?

Would it make sense for a current product not to work at the most current domain functional level?

  • Honestly you shouldn't be installing Server 2000 or 2003 now that it's 2012. The Mixed mode isn't available in Server 2008, 2008R2 or 2012; so this shouldn't be an issue. Also, your Dynamics AX Partner should know all this.
    – Chris S
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


"Native" mode in this context usually means 2000/2003 Native or above. If you're in 2000/2003 mixed mode, then there are certain things that aren't available in order to allow for NT4 Domain Controllers.

Verify with the vendor, but it's a safe bet to assume that anything 2000 native, 2003 native, or higher is fine.


The requirement that "Active Directory must be configured in native mode" really means that no domain or forest functional level that allows for Windows NT domain controllers (Windows 2000 mixed or Windows Server 2003 interim) is acceptable. Since domain/forest functional levels of Windows Server 2003 and beyond don't support Windows NT domain controllers the unspoken implication is that these domain functional levels are "native".

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