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Replacing Windows Server 2003

December 8, 2011 at 19:29:25
Specs: Windows Server 2003, Single Core Intel / 2GB
Hello, i work for a company that has a small office with about 15 client computers connected to a domain server (Windows Server 2003)

Its being used to share MSOffice files/ fax service/QBSever, thats it...

I have set up a second server with Windows Server 2008 and set up the fax service. I installed a 500GB RAID 1 for the files, separate from the OS HDD.

What i want to do is pretty much pull the old 2003 out and start fresh with the 2008. I have all the software and files, technically all i should have to do is copy over the files install the software, unplug the 2003... plug in the 2008 and connect to it yes?

Current setup is ATT internet > netopia modem > netgear VPN > 3COM switch > Server and Clients.

We do use PCAnywhere to connect to one machine but those are setting withing the netgear. So as long as the Global IP stays the same we should be good. I will reassign the 2008 Servers IP with the old IP from the 2003.

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December 9, 2011 at 01:44:21
Do you have Active Directory running? (I presume that you do since you say that your 2003 server is a DC.) In that case it's a little more complicated than simply copying over files.

What you probably need to do is set up the new server with a different IP address, install all software and replicate any data, make the new server a DC, let it replicate AD, transfer all roles from the 2003 server to the 2008 one, reassign IP addresses and/or names as required, depromote the 2003 server so that it is no longer a DC, then decommission the 2003 server. (And you'll probably need to replicate the data one last time to make sure that it is up-to-date.) Before depromoting the 2003 server it might be a good idea to just take it offline to check that everything works; that way, if there's a problem, you can just bring it online again.

This is a process where there are many potential pitfalls so, ideally, you would practise on a couple of spare PCs to make sure that you can do it without error, and document all steps before doing it for real. I would never undertake a procedure like this for the first time on a live system.

Once you have done this you should upgrade the old server to 2008 and make it a DC also; running an AD setup with just one DC is a disaster waiting to happen.

There are other ways to do this, involving exporting AD data to a text file and importing it to the new server, but these are, IMO, harder and more error prone. You could even try just backing up AD and restoring it on the new server, but I've never tried this between server versions.

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December 9, 2011 at 06:53:53

You would run the 2008 Adprep and then add the 2008 at a DC to the 2003 forest.

But since there are only 15 user accounts its pretty easy to setup 2008 from scratch. You would need to join the pcs to the new domain.

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December 9, 2011 at 09:17:50
wow, i was hoping i could avoid demot and promot of the servers, but if thats the only way then looks like i have my work cut out for me. i have several other dummy computers that i can use to test connecting to the new 2008 box. One last question....

do i need a client access license for each workstation after upgrading to the new 2008 server. or can they just join the domain like the 2003 setup did?

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December 9, 2011 at 10:09:46
You will need 2008 cals for the workstations.

Did you notice my post?

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December 9, 2011 at 10:22:01
Yes i noticed your post. Thank you for your reply. I have the 2008 trial installed and i do not have any cals for the workstations. i was hoping i could avoid that too. lol, anyway thanks again.

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December 19, 2011 at 11:48:47
So i have been sitting on this for a week now, so far we have not changed much. We upgraded all the client workstations, got 9 new boxs running win7pro x64 intelx2 4GB/RAM. So now the client workstations are up to date and connected to the 2003 domain, eventually i would lilke to make the switch to server 2008, i am still thinking about just unpluging the 2003 server and just starting over as if the server 2003 was never there. It just sounds like a easier transfer. As i said we are just sharing office docs and fax services.

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