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Overview of Enabling Advanced Active Directory Features

Updated: March 28, 2003

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

Functional levels in Windows Server 2003 Active Directory enable you to implement advanced features — such as efficient group membership replication, deactivation and redefinition of attributes and classes in the schema, and domain rename — that require that domain controllers within a domain or forest be running the Microsoft® Windows® Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows® Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; or Windows® Server 2003, Datacenter Edition operating systems. If you want to enable these advanced Windows Server 2003 Active Directory features in your organization, you must raise the domain and/or forest to the appropriate functional level.

Before you can identify and enable the functional level that best meets the needs of your organization, you must identify the Windows operating systems that you are currently running and that you plan to maintain in your environment after you deploy Windows Server 2003.

If you are currently running Windows NT 4.0 and you do not plan to deploy Windows 2000 in your environment, after you deploy the first Windows Server 2003–based domain controller, raise the forest functional level to Windows Server 2003 interim to take advantage of the advanced features available at that forest functional level.

If you are currently running both Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 in your environment, after you deploy a Windows Server 2003–based domain controller, keep the forest functional level set to Windows 2000. This enables you to take advantage of all advanced features available at that forest functional level.

If you are currently running only Windows 2000 in your environment or you are planning to install any number of Windows 2000–based domain controllers in the future, after you deploy a Windows Server 2003–based domain controller, keep the forest functional level set to Windows 2000. This enables you to take advantage of all advanced features available at that forest functional level.

If you are deploying a new Windows Server 2003 environment and plan to run only Windows Server 2003–based domain controllers, after you deploy the first Windows Server 2003–based domain controller you can raise the forest functional level to Windows Server 2003 to take advantage of all available Windows Server 2003 Active Directory features.

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