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NT4 Domain to AD with Exchange 5.5

By akish1960 ·
I've been out of the IT circle for a few years because of a lack of IT jobs in my area. I recently landed an IT position with a school district (Read no money - cant wait to get it done).
Next Wednesday (5 july) they want AD up. They are using as a PDC a dual processor 550 mhz Proliant server with 1.5GB memory and a bad CD Rom drive, with no room on the C Drive. Additionally, this server also serves as the Exchange 5.5 mail server. Sound like a nightmare??? They dont have a BDC either!
I tried taking a 2003 member server and creating AD on it, but the netbios name must be identical to the existing domain name, and so I couldnt continue.

What is your opinion as to an upgrade path and how would you approach it? Keep in mind Exchange still has to work when we are done, and I have to have AD up. At this point, I'd settle for W2K active directory with an eye to 2k3 later. I look forward to your input.

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Create a new domain

by curlergirl In reply to NT4 Domain to AD with Exc ...

If you have an existing 2003 server available, I would create a completely new domain on the 2003 server. You can create a trust between the old NT domain and the new 2003 domain, so that you can then migrate the user accounts and the workstations from the old to the new domain, using the Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT), without losing any functionality. Set up the ADC (Active Directory Connector) on the new domain to connect to the existing Exchange 5.5 site, and users on the new domain can continue to get their email.

I'd suggest you go to the search page for the Microsoft knowledgebase -

Look for articles on migrating from NT to Win2K3 - there's lots of information out there to help you.

Hope this helps!

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Here's how I did something similar

by wdjenkins In reply to NT4 Domain to AD with Exc ...

Not sure if this is an option for you, but I used VMWare to make this same type of upgrade a few years ago. With VMWare Sever being available at no cost, this could be an option for you assuming you had other hardware to run VMWare on. I built a VMWare Windows NT 4.0 Server, then promoted it to BDC. Once it had fully synced with the PDC I switched roles and made the VM server the PDC. Again after everything was properly synced and good, I ran the Windows 2000 (at the time) upgrade on the NT 4.0 VM which handled the AD conversion for me. All while the original PDC (now demoted to BDC) stayed virtually untouched. In my scenario I even did a mock run through before doing the real conversion which is another advantage of having VMWare. Just a thought. This required the least cut over and touching of client machines.

Bill Jenkins
Director of IT

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