We're running Windows 2000 as our domain controller (!) and a separate backup domain controller, but as the PDC is 12 years old we would like to replace it. We have a couple of 2008 R2 and Win 2012 (virtual) servers in the office used for other functions which we would like to use as the PDC/BDC.

Is there a way to migrate the domain controller function from the Win 2000 server to the Win 2012 server or would we have to go via 2003 or 2008? Is it a simple matter of adding the new servers to the domain and somehow promoting them to be the primary domain controller or is it more complicated? Overall it's a small network with around 12 computers. Unfortunately I wasn't the one to set up the network in the first place so I'm not totally familiar with domains and Active Directory etc. Any help or advice would be appreciated.


As a Windows 2012 DC is not supported in a Windows 2000 Domain, you need to go through Windows 2003/2008/2008 R2 first. (The forest/domain functional level needs to be 2003)

So you would:

  • Install a 2003/2008/2008 R2 DC
  • Switch all Roles there
  • Decommission the 2000 DC
  • Raise functional level
  • Do the same with 2012/2012R2
  • Thanks - what do you mean by "raise functional level" - do you mean promote to DC? – NickG May 12 '14 at 10:49
  • 1
    No, a Domain/Forest has different functional levels, which specifies the features that are available. I could google it for you, but I hope you can do it yourself :) – MichelZ May 12 '14 at 10:51

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