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Best way to make a new machine a new DC

I have a small NT 4.0 domain with one PDC and no BDCs. I want to make a new machine my Win2k DC. What is the best way to make this new machine my new DC? Also, can I blow away the old NT 4.0 PDC, install Win2k server and make it the backup DC?

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If you create a Win2k DC from the new machine, you will need to make it a new domain. This means that the users in the old domain will need to be migrated over to the new domain, which is a little more work. If you do not want to do this, you will need to upgrade the NT 4.0 Domain PDC first then build the new machine as a Win2k DC. Switch the system from Mixed to Native Mode (in the Active Directory Computer and Users Console). Then, if you still want to rebuild the old NT 4.0 PDC fresh (not required, but not a bad idea if you are unhappy with the way the system was built), you will need to first move all of the FSMO (Flexible Single Master Operator) roles over to the newly built Win2k machine. This is an important step! This is done in the Active Directory Computer and Users console again. Check the Win2k Resource Kit ? Distributed System Guide as well as searching Technet/Knowledge base for (FSMO Recovery NTDSUTIL). If you do not move the FSMO roles to the other machine, you will pretty much destroy your Active Directory domain (although there are ways to recover from this). Once you have the FSMO roles moved, you can rebuild the old NT 4.0 PDC, but do not name it the same. Give it a different NetBIOS name.

This was first published in June 2001

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