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Upgrade a cluster from Windows NT

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

To upgrade a cluster from Windows NT

  1. Confirm that your hardware is designed for or is compatible with Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition. For more information, see "Checklist: Preparation for upgrading a cluster" in Related Topics.

  2. On each node, locate the folder that contains the clustering software. Confirm that the folder is called Cluster (capitalization is unimportant) and is located in the system root folder, which is the folder where the operating system is installed. For example, if the default was used when the cluster was installed, the folder path will be C:\Winnt\Cluster. If the folder is not called Cluster or is not located in the system root folder, you cannot upgrade the cluster to Windows Server 2003, but must perform a clean installation.

  3. Confirm that you do not have an IIS, MSMQ, or DTC resource on your cluster. For more information, see Notes and Related Topics.

  4. Ensure that Service Pack 5 or later has been applied to all computers that will be upgraded from Windows NT Server 4.0 to Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition.

  5. As appropriate, notify users that you will be shutting down the applications they use on the cluster.

  6. Stop the applications that are made available through the cluster.

  7. Remove any resources that are not supported by Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, including NNTP Service Instance, SMTP Service Instance and Time Service resources.

  8. Shut down and turn off all nodes but one, or bring them to a shut-down state appropriate to your method of termination.


    • If you are using a shared storage device, when you upgrade and power on and start the operating system, it is of vital importance that only one node has access to the cluster disk. Otherwise the cluster disks can become corrupted. To prevent the corruption of the cluster disks, shut down all but one cluster node, or use other techniques (for example, LUN masking, selective presentation, or zoning) to protect the cluster disks, before creating the cluster. Once the Cluster service is running properly on one node, the other nodes can be installed and configured simultaneously.

  9. Upgrade the operating system on the node that is running. For information about running Setup, see "Start Setup" in Related Topics.

    The cluster software will be upgraded automatically during the operating system upgrade. Note that you cannot make configuration changes such as configuring cluster disks as dynamic disks. For more information, see "Limitations of server clusters" in Related Topics.

    Manage Your Server will appear when you initially log on to the newly upgraded node as an Administrator. Close Manage Your Server to continue with the upgrade.

  10. On the upgraded node, click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Cluster Administrator.

  11. Check to see that the cluster disks are online in Cluster Administrator.


    • Be sure that the cluster disks are online in Cluster Administrator before continuing to the next step. When the disks are online, it means that the Cluster service is working, which means that only one node can access the cluster storage at any given time. Otherwise the cluster storage could be corrupted.

  12. Shut down and turn off the upgraded node, or bring it to a shut-down state appropriate to your method of termination.

  13. Turn on the other node in the cluster and upgrade the operating system on that node.

  14. After the second node is upgraded, turn on the first node.

  15. If you want to add additional nodes to the cluster, add them after the first two nodes are upgraded.


  • Confirm that your entire cluster solution is compatible with products in the Windows Server 2003 family by clicking the appropriate link in Support resources.


  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure.

  • If your Windows NT Server 4.0 cluster includes a DTC or MSMQ resource, you must take additional steps when upgrading directly from Windows NT Server 4.0 to Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition. For more information, see article Q315993, "HOW TO: Upgrade a Windows NT 4.0 Cluster with MSDTC and MSMQ Resources" in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

  • If your goal is to have more than two nodes in the cluster, you must use Fibre Channel (not SCSI) for the cluster storage. Before adding additional nodes, ensure that your entire cluster solution is compatible with products in the Windows Server 2003 family.

  • When upgrading from Windows NT Server 4.0 to Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, the Cluster service user account requires the additional user right "Act as part of the operating system". If possible, Setup will grant this user right automatically. If Setup cannot grant the user right, you will be prompted to make this change.

    For security reasons, you must grant this user right to the specific user account that is used by the Cluster service. You cannot correct this problem by granting the user right to a security group of which the user account is a member. Typically, you must grant this user right as a local user right; it cannot be a domain-level user right. However, if your node is a domain controller, you can use the domain level user right.

    For more information on setting user rights, refer to "To edit a security setting" in the Windows 2000 help documentation or on Windows NT Server 4.0, open User Manager for Domains, click the Help menu in User Manager and refer to "Managing the User Rights Policy."

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  • Before you can begin an upgrade from Windows NT Server 4.0 directly to Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, you must apply Service Pack 5 or later.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

See Also

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