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If I change a server computer, will I need to rejoin all the clients to the new server?

My company is using a Windows 2000 server -- the hardware is Pentium III 6000. We now need to migrate the Win2k server to the new server, a Pentium III 1.4. I have rebuilt the Win2k server in the new computer exactly the same as the old server environment (same domain, same computer name, DHCP, AD account and groups, IP). If I change the server computer, will I need to rejoin all the client computers to the new server? Thanks for asking my question.

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Yes. If you built this new server completely independent of the old domain and server, then all of the user accounts, etc., will need to be recreated. The way you would normally do this would be to build a new Windows 2000 machine. Then join the existing domain and let the replication move everything for you. You will have to move DNS to the new server yourself if the old machine is hosting the DNS zones. Then you will need to move the Flexible Single Master Operations (FSMO) roles over to the new server.

There are five roles -- PDC Emulator, RID Master, Infrastructure Master, Schema Master and Domain Naming Master. These will all exist on the first DC created in the domain until you manually move them. You will want to make sure that Replication has completed prior to trying to move the FSMO. The RID Master, PDC Emulator and Infrastructure master can be moved via the Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC).

You can then log on to the new Win2k machine and run ADUC. Right click on the domain and click on Master Operations. You can then move these three. To move the last two, you will need to use another tool called NTDSUTIL.exe from the Windows 2000 Support Tools (the support tools are installed from the Windows 2000 server CD).

Using Ntdsutil.exe to seize or transfer FSMO roles to a domain controller will give you step-by-step instructions on how to use the NTDSutil.exe. Run the tool from the new Win2k machine. The last item you would need to do is make sure that the new Win2k machine is a GC server. This is done in the Active Directory Sites and Services.

  • Open the ADSS.
  • Click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Sites and Services.
  • Double-click Sites in the left pane, and then browse to the appropriate site or click Default-first-site-name if no other sites are available.
  • Open the Server>s folder, and then click the domain controller.
  • In the domain controller's folder, double-click NTDS Settings.
  • On the Action menu, click Properties.
  • On the General tab, locate the Global Catalog check box to see if it is selected.

This came from that same article. Now, the article is going to warn you that the Infrastructure Master should not be a GC (global catalog) -- but as this is the only server, that is okay. If you have other DCs in the same domain, you will not want this server to be a GC.

This was first published in February 2003

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