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Migrating servers before users

I wanted to know if while migrating from Windows NT to Windows 2003, instead of the commonly followed practice of migrating users first, is it ok to migrate (change the domain from NT to AD) the servers first (i.e. File Servers, Application Servers, etc.)?

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There is no issue with upgrading all of your Windows NT 4.0 print servers, files servers, and application servers to Windows 2000/2003 prior to upgrading your domain to Active Directory. Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 servers will operate fine in a Windows NT 4.0 domain. Then you can gain some speed and operating enhancements for the applications and especially Web servers without going through the more complex task of upgrading to an Active Directory. When you do upgrade the Domain Controllers and as a result move to Active Directory the member servers (file, print, Web, etc) will automatically adjust to utilizing AD-style name resolution and authentication.

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This was first published in December 2004

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