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Upgrading from a Windows 2000 domain

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Upgrading from a Windows 2000 domain

Before upgrading a domain controller running Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2003, or installing Active Directory on the first domain controller running Windows Server 2003, ensure that your server, your forest, and your domain are ready. This process involves checking the upgrade compatibility of your server, preparing the forest, and preparing the domain, all of which can be accomplished using command-line tools.

To check the upgrade compatibility of the server and to copy any updated Setup files, run the winnt32 command, using the winnt32 /checkupgradeonly command. For more information about the winnt32 command, see Winnt32.

To prepare the forest, run the adprep command on the schema operations master, using the adprep /forestprep command. Running adprep on the schema master will update the schema, which will in turn replicate to all of the other domain controllers in the forest. The time it takes to replicate these changes will vary, depending on the replication schedule for your organization.

After the changes made by adprep /forestprep have replicated to the infrastructure operations master, you are ready to prepare the domain. To prepare the domain, run adprep on the infrastructure operations master, this time using the adprep /domainprep command.

On Windows Server 2003 domain controllers with no service pack installed adprep /domainprep can cause significant replication traffic due to synchronization of the Group Policy objects (GPOs) in the SYSVOL shared folder.

Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) includes a new adprep command, adprep /domainprep /gpprep, which you can run separately from adprep /domainprep and which you can run anytime to synchronize the GPOs that are located in the SYSVOL shared folder.

Therefore, if you are upgrading a Windows 2000 Server environment to Windows Server 2003 with SP1, prepare the forest using adprep /forestprep and prepare each domain using adprep /domainprep. Then, when network conditions are optimal, use adprep /domainprep /gpprep to add inheritable access control entries (ACEs) to the GPOs in the SYSVOL shared folder and to synchronize the contents of the SYSVOL shared folder among the domain controllers in the domain.

The Adprep command-line tool is available from the I386 directory on the operating system installation CD.


  • You cannot upgrade domain controllers running Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003 with SP1, or add domain controllers running Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003 with SP1 to Windows 2000 domains, until you have used adprep to prepare the forest and the domains within the forest.

For more information about the enhancements to Adprep.exe in Windows Server 2003 with SP1, see article 324392, “Enhancements to Adprep.exe in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and in hotfix 324392,” in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

For more information about how to prepare your forest and domains using Adprep.exe, see "Overview: Upgrading Windows 2000 Domain Controllers to Windows Server 2003" in article 325379, “How to Upgrade Windows 2000 Domain Controllers to Windows Server 2003,” in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

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