I need to delete an otherwise "non removable" domain controller box that runs windows server 2003.

Normally I use dcpromo to remove domain controller roles from active domain servers. I tried to do that with our last Windows Server 2003 level server, but it keeps failing with errors. So I have decided to try to remove this domain controller using the Windows Server 2012 primary domain controller.

There is a tool new to 2012 server called Active Directory Administrative Center, but it has this delete option grayed out:

enter image description here

First, does anyone know why and if this can be fixed somehow, and if not (and if the reason is because the domain is still at the 2003 functional level), how do I get out of this catch-22 situation? I can't upgrade the domain functional level until I remove the last windows server 2003 server, and dcpromo doesn't work (it fails to remove ActiveDirectory services from the server, and just exits out with some kind of communication error).

The old tools I know how to use appear to be gone from 2012, and the new friendly tool (ADAC) appears useless and crippled. I'm guessing it's back to the command line for cleaning up this particular mess.

  • Are you able to post the error? I assume you have transferred all your domain and forest roles from the Windows 2003 server. Oct 17, 2012 at 19:40
  • Delete in the context of the UI screenshot above does not demote the DC, it is a discovered group for management based on what it sees in ADDS. Oct 17, 2012 at 19:43
  • I will retry and post the error text
    – Warren P
    Oct 18, 2012 at 1:45

1 Answer 1


What errors are occurring on the demote attempt? I'd say take a look at that before jumping to the nuclear option.

Sites and Services is still available for your DC nuking needs in 2012 (and still handles the metadata cleanup automatically), you can install it via Add Roles and Features (Features -> Remote Server Administration Tools -> Role Administration Tools -> AD DS and LDS -> AD DS -> AD DS Snap-Ins and Command Line Tools), but avoid doing that in favor of a demote through dcpromo if you can.

  • I ended up using the DC Nuke option.
    – Warren P
    Dec 10, 2012 at 12:35

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