In our Windows 2003 network we have two active domain controllers. I say active because listed in the Active Directory Sites and Services (Sites, Default-First-Site-Name, Servers) there are 4 servers listed. One of these, let's call it Server-X, has no objects associated with it and it has long been powered down, two are legit domain controllers, and the final one, let's call it Server-Y, appears as a legit DC but I am having trouble removing it.

So, Server-X must go. I was already under the assumption that it was removed... so would it be safe to delete it from the AD:Sites and Services DFSN Servers list?

Server-Y must also go but I'm having trouble removing it using the dcpromo wizard. This server is actually causing issues because workstations within the domain, every now and again, try to authenticate against it and get rejected. Should I just use dcpromo /forceremoval?

Thank you


I would use /forceremoval only as a last resort, it is probably stopping you for what it considers to be a very good reason. First question, are all your Operations Masters accounted for. Active Directory won't like removing a DC that is acting in one of those Single Master roles.

  • All OM's are held by Server-A (RID, PDC, Infrastructure) which is one of the servers that will remain. Server-B is the second DC which will remain. Both A and B are the only Global Catalog DC's. I should have mentioned this earlier but Server-X and Server-Y are both Windows 2000 machines. Also, Server-X, as I said earlier, is powered down and may even be scrapped. That is why I wondered if I could just delete it from AD:Sites and Services. – JohnyD Dec 17 '09 at 20:09
  • I would say that it is safe to just delete Server-X from AD: Sites and Services as long as you are sure that it is never coming back (which it sounds like you are). – Catherine MacInnes Dec 17 '09 at 21:27

There's a KB article for that :)

How to remove data in Active Directory after an unsuccessful domain controller demotion

For server Y, what issues are you having in demoting it? Have you verified that it is not holding any FSMO roles, and that it is not the only Global Catalog in your Domain?

  • Thanks for the article. I'll be taking another stab at demoting Server-Y again tomorrow morning. It's getting too late to make an attempt today. I have verified that it holds no FSMO roles and that it is not a GC. – JohnyD Dec 17 '09 at 22:13

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