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Overview of Restructuring Active Directory Domains Between Forests

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Restructuring Microsoft® Windows® 2000, Windows® Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows® Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; and Windows® Server 2003, Datacenter Edition operating systems domains between forests enables you to reduce the number of domains in your organization and therefore the administrative complexity and associated overhead costs of your Active Directory environment. Restructuring domains involves copying accounts and resources from a Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 Active Directory source domain to a target domain in a different Active Directory forest. The target domain must be a Windows 2000 native mode or Windows Server 2003 functional level domain.

If you completed an in-place upgrade of more than one domain from Windows NT 4.0 to multiple Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 forests, you might need to restructure your domains between forests to consolidate the objects because the Windows NT 4.0 Security Accounts Manager (SAM) size limits that restrict the number of objects in a domain do not apply to an Active Directory environment. If your organization has recently merged with another organization or IT infrastructure, then restructuring enables you to consolidate accounts and resources between the two infrastructures.

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