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Is a pristine forest a good idea?

I'm upgrading/ migrating from Win2K to Win2003 - retiring all old servers in the process. I don't like the Forest name and Domain name of our Win2k AD and would like to make the internal and external DNS namespace the same. I would like to bring up the new servers in a pristine Forest and move user and computer accounts over. Is this a good idea? Can you recommend a good tool for moving accounts and users from one Forest to another?

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The idea of a pristine forest is a good one. With Windows 2003 there is the added benefit of being able to rename domains, but recreating an entire forest is usually complex and often will not get the results that you were looking for. The best idea is to create the forest and domains over again with a well-thought out structure. Moving from one forest to the next is easier with a trust built between the old and new forests. Using the Microsoft ADMT (Active Directory Migration Tool) can provide a lot of assistance with bulk moves. You can get this from the Windows 2003 CD in the I386\ADMT.

This was first published in August 2004

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