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Upgrading from 2000 domain to 2003 domain

Thinking of upgrading from a 2000 domain to a 2003 domain? This tip explains how you can do that.

This tip was submitted to by contributor Ron Crumbaker. Please let other users know how useful it is by rating it below.

Although upgrading to a 2003 domain from a 2000 domain is more straight-forward than going from NT 4.0, you must perform certain steps before you can run the 2003 Domain Controller Upgrade wizard under Configure My Server.

You need to prepare the Windows 2000 Server Active Directory (AD) domain and forest to Windows Server 2003 Active Directory. They will upgrade the forest and domain structures to the new features in a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory.

Before preparing the domain, you must be running Windows 2000 SP2 or greater on all domain controllers.

If you have an Exchange 2000 server on your domain, then you should be familiar with the ADPrep tool, which is necessary for you to prepare 2000 AD for upgrading to 2003 AD.

To prepare the forest, you need to run the tool adprep, which is located on the Windows Server 2003 disk under the i386 folder. This tool must run on the Schema Master. The command to prepare the forest is ADPREP /forestprep. Please read the NOTE at the end of this article before proceeding.

To run this command, you must be logged on as a member of the Enterprise admin group and the Schema admin group.

You must wait for the changes to the schema to replicate to all the domain controllers. If you don't wait until the replication has finished before running the domain prep, an error message will notify you that more time is required.

The next step is to prepare the domain. You should run the same tool as above, but this time use the command ADPREP /domainprep.

This command will not run as long as /forestprep. Again, you must be a member of the Enterprise admin group and the Schema admin group.

You will have to wait for the replication to take effect.

When the domain prep has been completed, you can now run the Windows Server 2003 Domain Controller wizard.

I ran these steps while upgrading my domain to a 2003. Please make sure you are prepared before making changes to your domain.

I can't guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of these steps can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk; I made every effort to ensure the steps work as stated.

In addition, I can't stress enough that you need to be prepared and ready to upgrade your domain to a 2003 domain. Microsoft has some articles and best practices located on its site. See the "More Info" links below.

***Note*** Before running the ForestPrep tool, Microsoft recommends that you locate the Schema Master Server (using Active Directory Schema MMC) and perform a backup on the schema master. Then disconnect the schema master from the network and do not restore the connection until after the /forestprep has been completed successfully.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ron is the PC systems administrator at military and government contractor MPD Inc., of Owensboro, KY. He is the administrator for SMS 2.0, SMS 2003, Exchange 2000, Active Directory, Windows 2000 server and Windows Server 2003, PC desktops, workstations and laptops.


This article first appeared in myITforum, the premier online destination for IT professionals responsible for managing their corporations' Microsoft Windows systems. The centerpiece of is a collection of member forums where IT professionals actively exchange technical tips, share their expertise, and download utilities that help them better manage their Windows environments, specifically Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS). It is part of the TechTarget network of Web sites. To register for the site and sign up for the myITforum daily newsletter, click here:

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