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I am working in an environment that is single forest, and has two domains (the root local.com domain, and one child domain sub.local.com.

The sub.local.com has a lot of users, security groups and computers, and a couple thousand Exchange mailboxes tied to many of those users, and folders within our file sharing servers that g Group Policy isn't used that much in the sub-domain.

I think it would be best to consolidate to a single domain for management purposes, so I'm willing to learn what the all I'd need to do to "migrate"(?) the child domain objects over to the root domain.

Is the only way to achieve this to re-create everything manually in the parent domain from the child domain? Or are there any migration methods that can transfer them?

tech facts if it helps: Windows 2008 R2 functional level of AD, multiple Domain Controllers, fsmo's are 2012.

edit: I came across ADMT and this site. Is this the best place to start? https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Cc974332(v=WS.10).aspx Has anyone learned something else from this experience that I should be aware of?

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The link you posted is the best place to start. You would be performing an intraforest move and ADMT will ensure that the SID history of the migrated resources remains with the objects, since the move does create "new" objects in the destination domain.

I recommend creating a lab environment to test in, by backing up your AD of both domains and restoring it to some alternate machines.

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