Who gave this reader the silly idea that Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 can't live within the same domain?
- By Bill Boswell
- April 20, 2004
I have a question about using Windows Server 2000
and Windows Server 2003 on the same domain. I was told by the company
where I buy my servers that a Windows 2003 server isnt compatible
on a domain with an existing Win2K server machine. The company is a Microsoft
Certified Partner, and I am not sure if I am just getting the run-around
because they have an old copy of Win2K they want to sell or if what they're
saying is, indeed, true. If it's true, it would seem odd that Microsoft
doesn't address the issue anywhere on its site. I've searched and haven't
found any KnowledgeBase articles or anything in the newsgroups.
Is there proof anywhere that the server versions work together, proof
that I might print out so I can demand Windows Server 2003? I'd like to
take advantage of the additional functionality. Thanks in advance.
Help from Bill
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Name Withheld: Im not sure why representatives from
a certified partner would give you this information, but theyre
mistaken. You can put a Windows Server 2003 member server into
a Win2K domain with no problems. In fact, you should be upgrading Web
and terminal servers to Windows Server 2003 as soon as you can afford
the time and licenses. The increased security, functionality, and stability
of IIS and RDP in Windows Server 2003 make those upgrades a virtual no-brainer.
Now, your vendor might have been referring to introducing a Windows Server
2003 domain controller. Before you can do that, you'll first have
to prepare the forest and domain with the ADPREP utility. This requires
Other than that, though, Windows Server 2003 member servers can coexist
in Win2K domains without issues. In fact, you can even use the Active
Directory management tools on a Windows Server 2003 member server to manage
your Win2K domain. You wont be able to take advantage of all the
cool features in Active Directory Users and Computers, such as changing
properties on multiple objects at the same time, but you will be able
to use drag-and-drop and saved queries.
Oh, just one thing. It's not an incompatibility, as such, just something
to keep in mind. It has to do with Group Policy Objects. Windows Server
2003 includes an expanded set of GPOs that you won't see in the Win2K
Group Policy Editor unless you create or modify a GPO from a Windows 2003
member server. If you want to use group policies to manage a mix of Win2K
and Windows 2003 servers, create and modify the GPOs only from Windows
2003 machines. This is especially true if you currently use Windows XP
desktops as management workstations for your Win2K domain. When you eventually
upgrade to XP SP2, you will overwrite the Administrative Template files
used to control group policy settings. Microsoft is supposed to make sure
that the group policy settings in XP SP2 incorporate all the Windows 2003
settings, but you never know what might happen.
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.