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Advice for a 'paper MCSE' migrating a mid-sized office to AD

I recently got my MCP for Windows 2000 server. It is a good track with a lot of good information about the features of the OS. I think I understand what people mean when they talk about "paper MCSEs," because I have this certificate but I feel really unprepared for the task of migrating my network from NT4 to Win2k. Installing a trial version of the server doesn't really prepare you for the production environment.

I was told that on a relatively small, single-domain network the upgrade process might not be that tough. I work for a medium-sized company with seven branch offices. We mostly use 56K leased lines. I have a primary domain controller (PDC) and a backup domain controller (BDC) at the main office, with a BDC at each branch. I was told that if I just upgrade the PDC, making it a DNS server during the install, it should be pretty painless. I could then upgrade/replace the other servers as time permits. Would you agree with that statement?

Your Dos and don'ts of Active Directory migration article was interesting. I am the support staff and I really don't have the luxury of a test environment. You can probably see why I am nervous. I like the idea of building a BDC and taking it offline; I have an old server that will be perfect for the job. I hoped you might have some tips for a smaller scale rollout. Thanks for your time.
First of all, congratulations on your new certification. However, in the environment you're describing, I would consider a test environment to be a necessity, not a luxury. Having said that, the steps you're describing seem to be accurate from a high-level standpoint. Use the tips I presented in Dos and don'ts of Active Directory migration as a starting point, as well as all recommendations from Microsoft regarding name resolution and network connectivity.

This was first published in March 2003

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