Q

What is best procedure for upgrading my DC hardware?

I am currently planning a migration to Win2k. I am currently running NT4 w/PDC and two BDCs. My current DC hardware needs to be upgraded or replaced. I would like to replace with three new DCs pre-loaded with Win2k. What is the best procedure? Common recommendations seem to be saying to upgrade the PDC with one BDC offline. Can I downgrade one new server from Win2k to NT4, join the domain as BDC, promote to PDC and then upgrade this machine back to PDC? Is there an easier way?
Here are the basic steps:
  1. Build you new hardware (we will call it NEWDC) using Windows NT 4.0 SP5 or better. Build the NEWDC as a BDC in your existing domain.

  2. Take the old PDC and POWER IT OFF. Remove it from the network and leave it in a closet until you are happy with you new Active Directory.

  3. Promote NEWDC to be the PDC in the NT 4.0 Domain. (This can be done, since there is no PDC in the Domain.)

  4. Plan you DNS, DHCP Services, Active Directory Structure

  5. Upgrade NEWDC to Windows 2000 and Active Directory

  6. Upgrade the other DCs in the Domain to Windows 2000 as soon as you are satisfied that the NEWDC and the Active Directory are stable.

    At this point, if the AD fails, or is not what you wanted, you can shut it off, pull the old PDC out and put it back in the network.

  7. If all is well, switch the AD to NATIVE MODE.

  8. You may now redeploy the old PDC after you format and rebuild it.
This was first published in March 2002

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