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Migrating NT4 to 2003 AD in same domain

By stuart.truman ·
We have just purchased a new server and windows 2003 server standard edition and we are currently running on a Windows NT domain. We have run tests and can use the ADMTv2 tool to migrate all users from one domain to another but we dont want to do it this way.

We want to keep our existing domain and migrate all the users from the original server (NT4) to the new server (2003) so we can utilise AD. The ADMT only allows for migration between domains so that wont work. We cant setup 2003 as a different domain and then change the domain name as we need to keep the server functional level in Native mode as we need to migrate Emails accounts from 5.5 to Ex2003 (as I understand it) and we cant change the domain name with Ex2003 on the server as everything I have read states that it cant be done.

So my question is how can we migrate the NT4 accounts to 2003 in the same domain?

I have already been given the following solution:
Remove Win 2k3 from the new server and install NT 4.0 on it as a BDC while connected to your existing domain, promote to PDC then upgrade the new PDC to Win 2k3.

But this is not possible as the 2003 CD in not an upgrade CD. I have also had the following suggested:

1. format new server and install nt server as a backup domain controller
2. promote it
3. update new server with an evaluation version of server 2003
4. activate eval with 2003 serial number

But I'm not sure this is ok to do.

I can believe we are an isolated case, as all we require is to replace the existing server (inc H/W) with the new server H/W and account on the same domain.

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by stuart.truman In reply to Migrating NT4 to 2003 AD ...

That last part should read "I can't believe we..."

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by BFilmFan In reply to Migrating NT4 to 2003 AD ...

Yes, those steps are essentially documented here:

You should be able to follow those and easily perform your upgrade.

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by stuart.truman In reply to

We dont want to upgrade the operating system of the current Windows NT 4.0 PDC (mainly due to cost of another W2003 sever). We wnat the new box to take control as the domain controller on our current domain and migrate the users to the AD.

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by Sue T In reply to Migrating NT4 to 2003 AD ...

I don't know if this is possible or not because of 2 different operating systems but is it possible to add the new server 2003 to the network as a BDC and after the accounts have copied over to then shutdown the NT server and promote server 2003 to PDC? I really hope this works because I have to do the same thing this summer. Or is there a file somewhere on the NT server that you can copy to the 2003 that has the accounts in it?

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by stuart.truman In reply to

Unfortunatly, Active Directory doesn't support the concept of a PDC or BDC so as far as I have read this wont work.

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by p.j.hutchison In reply to Migrating NT4 to 2003 AD ...

I suggest getting an 2003 upgrade CD to solve this problem.

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by stuart.truman In reply to

Thanks, i know that would prob solve the problem but the point is we have just go a new server with a full install of Win 2003. There should be a way of doing what we need without the use of an upgrade CD. Plus we dont have the budget to purchase an upgrade CD (or do MS provide free upgrade CDs providing you have a valid licence?)

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by Sue T In reply to Migrating NT4 to 2003 AD ...

I recently asked Microsoft this because we will need to do this soon and they told me it is possible to export the users and permissions and then import it on the 2003 server.The following link is for migrating users in batches, this maybe what you are looking for. I hope you find this helpful.

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by teamdave In reply to Migrating NT4 to 2003 AD ...

A few months ago I upgraded our network domain from NT4 to SBS2003; there were several issues. Number one, few (if any) top-tier H/W server manufacturers support installing NT4 on their equipment - and I mean the BIOS simply won't allow it. So the upgrade CD may not do you any good anyway. Number two (and this was our problem, too) why is it so critical to keep the same domain name? It was relatively easy to adapt everything to a new domain name, and exporting info from NT4 (and Exchange 5.5) to AD and Exchange 2003 went smoothly after that. And believe me, 2003 is way easier to monitor and maintain. It was worth the domain name change.

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by r.raggi In reply to Migrating NT4 to 2003 AD ...

Is not an isolated case, I made some upgrade from NT4 to W2k3 inside the same domain.
I suggest the follow steps:
1) install an support server with NT4 as BDC
2) Power off the PDC and promote BDC to PDC
3) upgrade Dummy Server to Windows 2003. During this step the install procedure create all necessary to upgrade NT Sam to AD Infrastructure, DNS included.
4) install New Server with Win2k3 and promote at Domain Controller.
5) move all fsmo roles and GC Role from support server at new server.
6) demote e remove support server from AD Infrastructure.


Riccardo Raggi
IT Consulting

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