A Server By Any Other Name
....hums along smoothly, if the PDC is migrated correctly in this reader's NT-to-Windows 2003 upgrade. The Exchange 5.5-to-Exchange 2003 migration may be a tad more problematic.
- By Bill Boswell
- March 01, 2004
We're planning an upgrade to Windows 2003 Server
and AD. We're a single domain operation. Our current PDC+OS is Windows
NT 4.0 with an Exchange 5.5 server running on Windows 2000. This server
will be upgraded to Exchange 2003 and Windows 2003 server after the domain
Here's our problem: Our current domain name is similar to DOMAIN_NT with
an underscore in the name. We want to change the domain name when we upgrade
to something without an underscore, such as: domain.com.
How will this affect our Exchange server if we first upgrade the domain
to a new name? From my reading it seems that the server will be
What steps must I take to ensure a reasonably smooth domain name change
and somehow transition my email accounts to the new server (and
Help from Bill
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Stan: The first step in the migration to Exchange 2003
is to upgrade your domain to Active Directory, which means upgrading your
current PDC either to Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003. (Unless you
have some overriding reason to use the older platform, I highly recommend
Windows 2003 because it has superior features, performance, and security.)
The PDC upgrade happens in two phases. The first phase upgrades the operating
system. The second phase installs Active Directory and imports the parameters
from the SAM. During this second phase, you'll be prompted to enter a
Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) for the domain, such as domain.com.
The domain retains the current flat name of DOMAIN_NT.
Essentially, you'll have one domain with two names, sort of like Spiderman
and Peter Parker. You'll see the same flat DOMAIN_NT name in the Winlogon
drop-down box and in My Network Places, but in DNS you'll see host and
SRV records that use the new FQDN.
The Windows 2000 member server will recognize the upgraded domain (it
checks DNS every startup for SRV records) but the Exchange 5.5 services
running on the Windows 2000 member server won't care. They interact only
with the flat name of the domain and domain controllers, not their FQDNs.
The legacy Exchange services will continue to verify user identities with
the same passthrough authentication it always used.
Now, about the Exchange server upgrade. There's no direct upgrade path
to Exchange Server 2003 from Exchange 5.5, even though it's running on
Windows 2000. You'll need to install the ADC service and a new Exchange
2003 server. Then you'll move all the mailboxes and connectors and public
folders to the new server, remove Exchange from the old server, and shift
to Exchange Native mode.
At that point, if you want to retain the old hardware, you could wipe
the drives on the old server, install Windows 2003 and Exchange 2003,
then move the mailboxes, connectors, and public folders back, if you wanted
to, or split the load between them. You could use the older server as
a front-end server if you have lots of OWA users or you want to use RPC-over-HTTP.
Hope this helps.
Contributing Editor Bill Boswell, MCSE, is the principal of Bill Boswell Consulting, Inc. He's the author of Inside Windows Server 2003 and Learning Exchange Server 2003 both from Addison Wesley. Bill is also Redmond magazine's "Windows Insider" columnist and a speaker at MCP Magazine's TechMentor Conferences.