Answer

Resolving Active Directory chaos

Q: Our company has two Win2K servers. One of them has Exchange 2000 and we want Windows Server 2003 and Exchange 2003. Our Active Directory, Sysvol and replication are working not well; we have unnecessary users and contacts. The whole AD is in chaos! 

We want to do a new clean install, but:
1. Does the client computers  join into the new domain automatically? (The domain name and computer name will be the same, but as I read the domain has a SID and this is important too.) 

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2. What is the easiest way move the Exchange to Windows 2003/Exchange 2003 Server. Should I work with the database or each user's mailbox (20 users)? Export the users mailboxes to an pst file and then import them?

Have you any documents or links about these questions? 

A: If you are going to name the domain the exact same as the old domain, you are going to have to do some restore-type work. You will not be able to have the two domains up at the same time.

For Exchange, you can export the users mailboxes to .pst files using ExMerge. You can also perform a backup of the Information Store to tape and restore once the system is rebuilt.

You will have to touch each workstation and rejoin the new domain. This will affect the user profiles on each workstation as well.

The Windows 2000 Active Directory will need to be on a separate network, isolated from the rest of the company while you build it. Otherwise you will have a lot of confusion with two domains on the same network with the same name. 

Once you have the new one working, you should DCPROMO all of the old AD controllers, but one. Remove the old DCs you just demoted from the old domain. Shut down the last remaining DC. Then bring the new DC onto the production network. Add the old DCs into this domain and promote them. Make sure to validate that your replication is now working! 

NETDIAG.exe and DCDIAG.exe from the Windows 2000 CD SUPPORT TOOLS folder will perform this work. Once done, you may now start adding the workstations and other servers in. Rebuild the Exchange system for this new domain and import the mailboxes.
 

This was first published in August 2005

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