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If I add a Win2k Server to my NT4 network, will the Win2k Server automatically become the DC?

Currently, the network is running two Windows NT 4.0 servers; one PDC and the other is a member server that is running Exchange. We plan to keep the two servers running NT 4.0 for the time being. We are thinking about bringing in a new server with three 36GB hard drive running Windows 2000 Server. Can I just add the new server onto the network, and will the new server become the Domain Controller automatically?

Would the Windows 2000 Server populate the user accounts from the Window NT Server, and can I have both a Domain Controller for the Win2000 Server and a PDC for the WinNT 4.0 running at the same time? I'm not sure how it works. Can you please give me some advice or steps that I can take to bring the new server onto the network? Thank you.

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You can bring a new Windows 2000 server onto the network anytime -- no problem. The problem will be if you try to make it a BDC in an NT 4.0 Domain, because you can't. To get the Windows 2000 Server to be a Domain Controller in the existing NT 4.0 domain, you will first have to upgrade the existing NT 4.0 domain to Active Directory. This process starts with upgrading the NT 4.0 PDC to Windows 2000. Alternatively, you could create a Windows 2000 Active Directory separate from your current environment. Then, migrate the users and resources over slowly.

Incidentally, Windows 2000 machines are installed and then promoted to DCs -- this is a big change from the way Windows NT 4.0 used to work.

This was first published in March 2002

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