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Upgrading NT4 Domain to W2K

By Shanghai Sam ·
I work for a school system and am considering upgrading our domain (finally) to W2K. There are currently 5 networks, each with a BDC. I replaced the PDC over the Xmas break, but was hesitant to upgrade the OS at that time because I suspected there would be problems to resolve and I did not want to throw an upgrade to W2k in the list of possible reasons why there was a problem. Now that all issues are resolved with that upgrade, I would now like to upgrade the OS. This server is the PDC for an existing domain, the DHCP, WINS, and print services server for the high school, and an internal DNS server. How smoothly will all these services move over to the new OS? The only service I could possibly move over to another server would be the print services (only one printer anyway). Will the existing NT 4 BDCs still recognize this server as the PDC? I am the only network engineer here and the school budget will not pay for either help or classes. I do not have a testbed on which I can test out the process.

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Upgrading NT4 Domain to W2K

by timwalsh In reply to Upgrading NT4 Domain to W ...

What you are contemplating is a migration, and it SHOULD work fairly seamlessly (I say should becouase nothing with Windows is EVER 100% guarenteed).

There are 2 very important steps to take before you do anything else:
1. Make sure you have a good backup of all critical data.
2. Take one of your BDCs physically offline. This BDC will be used as a fallback should something go wrong with your Win2k install. If you can't take one of the 5 operational BSCs offline, you might consider taking you old PDC, rebuilding it as a BDC and using it one last time.

Not sure how much homework you've already done, so I want to make a few key points about coextistence between NT4 and Win2K and migration:
1. Win2K Domain Controllers (DCs) CANNOT exist in a NT4 domain.
2. NT4 BDCs can exist in a Win2K Active Directory (AD) domain with absolutely no problem.
3. AD relies heavily on DNS (Make sure your DNS structure is pretty rock-solid. This will save potential problems in the long run).
4. Your NT install must be at least SP4. SP6a is better.

The fact that your PDC is also running other services shouldn't have any adverse effect on the migration, other than the fact that they won't be available while you are doing the actual migration.

The actual migration process takes place during the installation of AD.

If you've never installed Win2K before, you will be pleasantly surprised at the ease compared to NT4. The time needed for installation and number of required reboots are greatly diminished. Windows will detect that it is being installed on a PDC and automatically invoke installation of AD.

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Upgrading NT4 Domain to W2K

by timwalsh In reply to Upgrading NT4 Domain to W ...

When asked, your choices should be: Domain Controller for a new domain -- Create a new domain tree -- Create a new forest of domain trees. You will be asked for a domain name (which follows the DNS domain name format - xxx.edu). Since you are already running internal DNS, name your AD domain the same as you DNS domain (this prevents problems later). You will be shown a NetBIOS domain name which should be the same as your NT4 domain name. This is important because the NetBIOS domain name isthe one that shows in the Log-on screen. You will probably receive an error message to the effect that the DNS server hosting your domain could not be found or doesn't support dynamic updates. Answer Okay and choose to set up DNS yourself when given the choice. AD will then churn a while setting itself up.

Once you do the final reboot, and Win2k restarts, you are almost finished. You will need to open DNS and at least open properties for your DNS zone. At the very least, make sure Dynamic Updates are allowed (This is a requirement for AD.). You will also be better off in the long run changing the DNS zone type to Active Directory-integrated.

Oh yeah, bottom line answers to your questions:

All your services should move to thenew OS fairly smoothly, however, re-read the first para. of my answer.

Yes, your NT4 BDCs will recognize and interact with your new Win2K Domain Controller (One other point I didn?t mention before: in a pure Win2K domain, the PDC/BDC relationship no longer exists. All Domain Controllers (DCs) are essentially equals.).

Sorry for the long-winded answer, but I like to answer questions like this as thoroughly as time permits. However don't consider this answer all encompassing (obviously), as I'm sure there are other things that should be mentioned, but which I haven't.

Good Luck.

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Upgrading NT4 Domain to W2K

by simon.curran In reply to Upgrading NT4 Domain to W ...

There are no pdc's/bdc's in native mode, therefore the bdc's will be redundant. You really need to go straight to A.D.

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