I've been running a Server 2012 Standard evaluation as a member server for a while - it has been a remote site AD server that connects to our existing Essentials domain ("PDC").

The server has been promoted so that our existing AD is replicating - all is working as expected.

My question: I have read that an evaluation cannot be converted to a standard retail if it is a DC. This server, although has been promoted to give the AD replication we desire, is not our DC... or is it technically a DC (because of the need to DCPROMO as part of adding the AD role) and I cannot convert it without a rebuild?

1 Answer 1


The server is a domain controller. Once you dcpromo it becomes a domain controller.

You will need to reverse the process, removing it as a domain controller and removing the Active directory role. Once that is done you can activate and promote it back to being a domain controller.

I've done this before and it worked without any problems.

  • Thank you - I thought as much. Not demoted a server 2012 before but I guess it's done via the Server Manager GUI? The server will be re-promoted once it's converted so is all I need to do is remove the AD DS role (I read that at the end of the wizard it'll demote as part of the AD role removal) -> convert/activate -> re-promote?
    – Kinnectus
    Jul 19, 2015 at 9:39
  • Correct. Just be sure that all (not sure if you have any others) the DCs have replicated the changes and no longer see it as a DC. You can use sites and services to force a replication of the changes.
    – Drifter104
    Jul 19, 2015 at 10:13
  • All we have is a Server 2012 Essentials as the root DC. The server in question is just a remote site backup DC over a (fairly) dodgy site-to-site VPN. I'll make the changes and if it works I'll give you a good star :)
    – Kinnectus
    Jul 19, 2015 at 10:23

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