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With two existing NT4 servers, can we introduce a new NT4 BDC and then do an in-place upgrade of it

In relation to the earlier question with a network running two Windows NT 4.0 servers and wishing to introduce a third Windows 2000 DC, would it be possible to install the new server as a Windows NT 4.0 BDC and then do an in-place upgrade to W2K? This would have the result of maintaining the earlier two servers as Windows NT 4.0, but introducing the third machine as W2K with the AD services.

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This will not work. The problem is that the NT 4.0 BDC cannot be upgraded prior to the PDC, so you just won't be able to do it.

But, let's say that you install the NT 4.0 BDC and then shuffle it off the network into a dark corner of the building where one would perform such unnatural acts. There you do an inplace upgrade while not on the network. Then you put your Frankenstein server back on the network as an AD controller. Chaos would ensue as the Windows 2000 servers would soon find the AD controller, and authenticate against it. Password changes, etc. would be done on the AD controller but would NEVER propogate to the NT 4.0 BDCs. As time goes on fewer and fewer users would be able to access the network. And your RAS solution would be so confused it would probably just implode.

If you are going to have an AD infrastructure and want to start with a fresh server, you would do the following:

  1. Install the server as a BDC in the NT 4.0 domain.
  2. Make sure it has synchronized with the domain.
  3. Promote the server to a PDC.
  4. Upgrade the server to Windows 2000 AD.

And you're done. The other 2 NT 4.0 servers would be BDCs (forever) in the same AD/domain as the Windows 2000 DC.

This was first published in July 2002

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