We have a running Windows Server 2003 with DC.

We want to upgrade the server to Windows Server 2008 DC, but with same domain name and policies.

Can we migrate 2003 to 2008 by keeping the old domain name intact.

  • Q: Can we migrate 2003 to 2008 by keeping the old domain name intact? A: Yes. – joeqwerty Aug 5 '14 at 15:41

You can easily migrate away from Server 2003, but you will need at least 2 servers (the existing 2003 and the new 2008).

You might want to consider migrating to Windows Server 2008 R2 right away, as there are a number of new features as well as enhancements to existing features such as optimized maintenance of the NTDS database and asynchronous background-loading of AD-integrated zones in DNS Server

To move from a single Server 2003 DC to a Windows Server 2008 installation, the approach would be:

  1. Prepare the AD Schema for the 2008 or 2008 R2 Domain Controller
    • This is done by running adprep.exe from the installation media for the new server
  2. Install the Active Directory Domain Services and DNS Server Roles on the new server
  3. Promote the new server to a Domain Controller using dcpromo
    • During promotion, make sure you choose the "Join domain in existing forest" option
  4. Transfer the FSMO Roles from the 2003 server to the new one
  5. Run dcpromo on the old Domain Controller to demote it (remove it as a Domain Controller).

If you have other core services hosted on the Domain Controller, such as DHCP, make sure to install and configure DHCP on the new server and remove it from the old one before demoting it.

  • 1
    Highly recommend before you begin running DCDIAG (I use the /C /E /V switches) to confirm the health of AD - correct any unexplained issues first, THEN proceed with step 1 above. – Multiverse IT Aug 6 '14 at 3:45

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