Adding first Windows Server 2008 R2 Domain Controller within Windows 2003 network
To be able to configure Windows Server 2008 R2 Domain Controller within Windows 2003 network we need to check if Domain Functional Level is set up at least in Windows 2000 native mode. But preferable Domain Functional Level is Windows Server 2003. When it’s set up in Windows Server 2003 mode, and you have only one domain in a forest or each domains have only Windows 2003 Domain Controllers, you are also able to raise Forest Functional Level to Windows Server 2003 to use Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC) within your network.
We can check this in domain, where we want to install first 2008 R2 DC. To verify that, we need to use “Active Directory Users and Computers” or “Active Directory Domains and Trusts” console.
Using “Active Directory Users and Computers” console, select your domain and click right mouse button (RMB) on it. Choose “Raise Domain Functional Level” and check that.
If you see screen like this (mixed mode), it means that you need to raise your Domain Functional Level.
But remember, raising Domain Functional Level is one time action and cannot be reverted. Before you raise it to 2000 native mode, please ensure that all of your Domain Controllers are running at least on Windows 2000 Server.
Windows 2000 native mode do not support DCs based on earlier Microsoft Windows systems like NT4.
If your environment doesn’t have any NT4, 2000 Domain Controllers, you can raise Domain Functional Level to Windows Server 2003 mode.
Now, when you checked that you do not have any pre-2000 OS, select appropriate level and click on “Raise” button
and accept the change. You will be warned that revert changes won’t be possible!
information about successful change will be displayed
After successful change, you should see changed domain operation mode.
Another way for that is using Active Directory Domains and Trusts console. Run this console, select domain for which you want to check Domain Functional Level and choose “Raise Domain Functional Level”
Follow the same steps as in previous console.
In this place, you can also raise your Forest Functional Level if all of your Domain Controllers in entire forest are running on Windows Server 2003. If not, please skip below steps and go to Single Master Operation Roles section.
To raise Forest Functional Level, select “Active Directory Domains and Trusts” node, click on it RMB and choose “Raise Forest Functional Level”. On the list accept “Windows Server 2003” mode by clicking on “Raise” button.
You will be notified that it is also not reversible action. Confirm that you know what you are doing and then verify if your Forest Functional Level is set up to Windows Server 2003
Now, it’s time to determine which Domain Controller(s) hold(s) Single Master Operation Roles. The most important for preparing environment for 2008 R2 DC are
- Schema Master
- Infrastructure Master
On that/those DC(s) we have to run Active Directory preparation tool.
To determine which DC(s) hold(s) these roles we need to use:
- Active Directory Users and Computers and Active Directory Schema consoles
- netdom command from Support Tools (Support Tools have to be installed from Windows 2000 Server CD from Support folder)
Determining which DC holds Schema Master we need to run on one of the DCs or workstation with Administrative Tools installed in command-line
to register Schema snap-in within OS.
Now, open MMC console from run box
Within that console add Active Directory Schema snap-in
Click RMB on “Active Directory Schema” node and choose “Operation Master”
Write down or remember which DC holds it.
Close MMC without saving changes.
Now we need to identify Infrastructure Master within your network. To do that, open Active Directory Users and Computers console, select your domain and click RMB on it. From pop up menu, choose “Operation Masters”. Select “Infrastructure” tab
In my case, both Operation Masters are located on the same DC.
To verify necessary Operation Masters much faster, we can use netdom command installed from Support Tools. Open command-line and go to default installation directory:
C:Program FilesSupport Tools
then type: netdom query fsmo
and identify DC(s) from an output
We collected almost all necessary information to start AD preparation for the first Windows Server 2008 R2 Domain Controller. The last and the most important part before we start preparation, is checking Forest/Domain condition by running:
- Dcdiag (from Support Tools)
- Repadmin (also from Support Tools)
Run in command-line on a DC where you have installed Support Tools
and check if there are no errors. If so, please correct them.
An example part of output from dcdiag tool
now run in command-line:
repadmin /showrepl /all /verbose
to check if your DCs are replicating data without errors.
After those checks, you can start with Active Directory preparation.
Active Directory preparation
Before we start preparing AD for new Windows Server 2008 R2 DC, we need to be sure that we are members of:
- Enterprise Admins group or
- Schema Admins group
and we have DVD with Windows Server 2008 R2
Let’s start preparing Active Directory for the first Windows Server 2008 R2 Domain Controller.
Log on to Schema Master owner (we identified it in previous steps) on a user from one of mentioned above groups and put into DVD-ROM installation media. Run command-line and go to
You will find there two AD preparation tools:
- adprep (64-bit application for 64-bit platforms)
- adprep32 (32-bit application for 32-bit platforms)
We need to use adprep32 on Schema Master (because it is 32-bit OS) In case that you have 64-bit Windows Server 2003 then use adprep. So, type in command-line
as you can see, adprep informs you that all of your Windows 2000 Domain Controllers require at least SP4 to start extending schema.
if you followed previous steps of this article, all of your DCs have SP4 installed or you have no 2000 DCs at all. You can continue by pressing C letter on a keyboard and wait until AD preparation tool will finish its actions.
Your schema in a forest is extended.
You may also wish to run adprep32 /rodcprep if you have Windows Server 2003 at Forest Functional Level. If not, you would be able to do that any time in the future.
If everything would go fine, you will see no errors.
The last step before we can introduce 2008 R2 as DC is to prepare domain for it.
Log on to Infrastructure Master owner as Domain Administrator and put DVD installation media into DVD-ROM. Open command-line and as previously go to supportadprep directory.
Type then adprep32 /domainprep /gpprep
and wait until adprep will finish its actions
Congratulations! Your domain is now ready for the first Windows 2008 R2 Domain Controller.
You can check that by using ADSIEdit console or free ADFind command-line tool which can be downloaded from the Internet.
Open run box and type adsiedit.msc to open ADSI Editor
Expand “Schema” node and select “Schema” container. Click on it RMB and choose “Properties”. You will see schema “Attribute Editor” tab. Check “Show only attributes that have values” and search for “objectVersion” attribute.
Value 47 tells you that your Schema version is Windows Server 2008 R2
Using adfind tool, run in command-line this syntax
adfind –sc schver
Adding first Windows 2008 R2 Domain Controller
Install your new box with Windows Server 2008 R2 and configure its IP address correspondingly to your network settings.
Remember that it’s very important to properly configure Network Card settings to be able to promote your new box as domain controller!
The most important part of configuring NIC is setting up DNS server(s). Point your new box to one of the existing Domain Controllers where you have installed and configured DNS.
Log on as local administrator and in command-line type: dcpromo
Domain Controller promotion will start automatically. If you haven’t installed Active Directory: Directory Services role before, it will be done by wizard at this moment.
When role is installed, you will see DC promotion wizard. I would suggest using advanced mode during promotion process. So, please check “Use advanced mode installation” and let’s start.
We are adding new DC within existing forest to the existing domain, so choose appropriate option and click “Next”
Type DNS Domain name to which you want to add new domain controller and specify Domain Administrator credentials for that process
Choose domain from a list
If you didn’t use previously /rodcprep switch with adprep, you will be notified that you won’t be able to add Read-Only Domain Controllers. To install RODC within network it’s required to have at least Windows 2003 Forest Functional Level and you can advertise this option later (before first RODC installation). Skip this warning and press “yes” to continue.
Select appropriate site for this Domain Controller and continue.
Install on your new DC:
- Global Catalog
They’re suggested by default. Continue and start AD data replication process from the existing DC within network.
Now, you can select from which Domain Controller data should be replicated or leave choice for the wizard (use the second option)
Leave default folders for Directory Services data (or change path if you need)
Set up Directory Services Restoration Mode password in case that you would need to use this mode. Password should be different that domain administrator’s account and should be also changed periodically.
Now you will see summary screen, click “Next” and Domain Controller promotion wizard will start preparing new DC for you.
To have fully operational DC, you need to reboot it after promotion. So, let’s check “Reboot on completion” checkbox and wait until it will be up and ready.
Your new Windows Server 2008 R2 Domain Controller is not available in your network!
Give DC some time to replicate Directory Services data and you can enjoy with new DC.
Now, you need to do small changes within your environment configuration.
On each server/workstation NIC properties configure alternative DNS server IP address pointing to the new Domain Controller.
Open DHCP management console and under server/scope options (it depends on your DHCP configuration) modify option no. 006
Add there IP address of your new Domain Controller as DNS server.
Author: Krzysztof Pytko