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My NT4 PDC server is showing its age. What are my upgrade options?

I have a Windows NT 4.0 SP6a network. I've just recently added a new Windows 2000 SP2 member server (I didn't bother to set up Active Directory, as it was not a domain controller). Now, as circumstances have changed and my NT 4.0 PDC (primary domain controller) server is showing its age, I need to do one of two things (please advise on how to effectively do one or both):

  1. Make the Windows 2000 a backup domain controller (BDC), using some type of emulation, I suppose, for the Windows NT 4.0 domain, or

  2. Somehow move the NT 4.0 SAM to the Windows 2000 Member Server, then (using the SAM data to create an Win2k Active Directory domain?) make it the DC for the entire domain and demote the Windows NT 4.0 server to either BDC or Member Server.

My goal is at some point to upgrade the Windows NT server (used now strictly as the domain's PDC and for the domain's archived file storage) to Windows 2000 OR perhaps to replace the box entirely with a new server box on which I'll install a fresh copy of Win2k.

But I want to get this domain controller issue dealt with now, so that I can keep my options open for what to do with the old NT box.

When offering any instructions or help, please note that I 'm pretty well versed in NT and other network technologies, but know little to nothing about setting up or migrating from an NT 4.0 SAM to a Win2k Active Directory.

Thanks in advance for any help!

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Neither of your two possibilities are really feasible. What you could do is build an Active Directory with a different NetBIOS name than the NT 4.0 domain and then use the Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) to migrate all of the objects. You will need to establish a domain trust between the two domains. This is pretty much the only way, aside from upgrading the NT 4.0 PDC to Windows 2000.

This was first published in October 2002

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