I have an existing Windows Server installation with Active Directory and some other programs configured on it. Is there an easy way to transfer the applications and settings to a new machine? Thanks.

  • Do you have any additional domain controllers? – alexy Sep 1 '09 at 9:58
  • No, it's the only one. And I am replacing it. – qeek Sep 2 '09 at 6:40

The easiest method may be to use VMWare Converter to create a virtual of your existing system, and boot that on the new machine. I wouldn't call it the most efficient method, but it's definitely the easiest. ;)

A longer answer would depend on what applications are on the server. As Alexy hinted, if you attach and promote a new server as a domain controller and transfer the Active Directory roles, that'll take care of the AD transfer.

  • I am just replacing the old machine with a new one that should work the same, but on better hardware. – qeek Sep 2 '09 at 6:41
  • If you have the media for the other applications, dcpromo & installing apps should make for an easy transfer. – Kara Marfia Sep 2 '09 at 11:59

There is no easy way (besides Kara Marfia mentioned). I think the best way is to migrate Active Directory to the new server and after that reinstall the applications (It depends on type of applications).

Here are just general steps to migrate Active Directory:

  1. Install Windows Server 2003 on a new server.

  2. Promote (dcpromo) the new server to become Domain Controller (in the same domain). http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc738032(WS.10).aspx

  3. Promote the new Domain Controller to be "Global Catalog" and reboot the server. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/313994

  4. If DNS is installed on the original server, install on the new one. Create an AD integrated zone for your domain DNS data and wait for it to replicate.

  5. Configure the new Domain Controller to use its own IP address as the address of the DNS server. So, enter the new server's IP address in the Preferred DNS Server box.

  6. Transfer any other roles such as DHCP, WINS etc.

  7. Configure DNS settings on client’s computers: Preferred DNS server: new Domain Controller Alternate DNS server: original DNS server (original Domain Controller)

  8. Transfer FSMO roles to the new Domain Controller. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324801

  9. Turn off original Domain Controller and check clients can login and perform all required tasks. Also, to verify if the migration is successful, you can run "dcdiag" under command line on the new Domain Controller (when both DCs are online).

  10. Leave old server turned off but ready for use if a problem occur, for a reasonable period of time, usually a couple of weeks.

  11. Before the 60-day tombstone interval, demote (dcpromo) the original Domain Controller from using as "Domain Controller". http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc755937(WS.10).aspx

And make sure you have a good backup.

Read these topics:

Migrating DC To A New Hardware

How do I migrate a Windows 2008 Domain Controller to another computer?

How to best migrate a server to new hardware?

Also, you can try this method, but I do not recommend it:

How to move a Windows installation to different hardware

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