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My company is needing to switch over from our current DHCP server to building out a new virtual machine Windows 2016/2019 DHCP server.

The question I have is, can I build the server and configure the service, without enabling it until we decide to make the cutover - aka leave it in an offline state and flip the switch when we're ready? Our existing DHCP is on our firewall appliance and I'm not sure how well the database will export/import into Windows DHCP service. So we're thinking this will be built from scratch.

I've stood up DHCP service before but never in an existing environment.

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    Yes. Don't authorize it in AD (if used), block the port on the firewall and / or just don't start the DHCP-server-service until you are ready. As this is a VM, you can even disable networking completely for the setup. – Lenniey May 23 at 16:17
  • I think the last suggestion will be the path I'll take. Sounds the most simple. Thanks for the response back. I was getting some pushback from others on the team who felt I needed to wait and set everything up over the weekend and deploy it all at once. Really wanted to get 3rd party, unbiased, advice. – David May 23 at 19:20
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The question I have is, can I build the server and configure the service, without enabling it until we decide to make the cutover - aka leave it in an offline state and flip the switch when we're ready?

Yes. Authorization need not come into play at all (and is only relevant id the DHCP server is AD domain joined). Authorize it or don't, the solution is below:

Create your DHCP scope. Configure your server/scope options, reservations, and anything else you need to configure. Then DO NOT activate the scope. The DHCP server will do nothing until you activate the scope.

  • Thanks for the suggestion. I might try both options, just to play it safe. The last thing I want to do is become the guy that DOS's my userbase because I did something wrong. :) – David May 23 at 22:59

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