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Determine Domain Controller Upgrade Order

Updated: March 28, 2003

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

Determine the order in which you will upgrade your domain controllers before beginning the domain upgrade process. Record the name, IP address, the domain in which the domain controller will be located, and the operations master roles held by each domain controller before and after the upgrade. Finally, record the order in which you will upgrade the operating system on each domain controller.

The recommended order for upgrading domain controllers from Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2003 is:

  • Install Active Directory on a Windows Server 2003–based member server in the forest root domain by using the Active Directory Installation Wizard. This creates the first Windows Server 2003–based domain controller.

  • Upgrade the operating system on the Windows 2000–based domain controller holding the role of domain naming master. If you choose not to upgrade the domain controller, transfer the domain naming master role to a domain controller running Windows Server 2003.

  • Upgrade the domain controller that holds the PDC emulator role in each domain, or transfer the roles to Windows Server 2003–based domain controllers.

  • Continue upgrading all Windows 2000–based domain controllers to Windows Server 2003 until the domain upgrade is complete.


  • This order for upgrading or installing Windows Server 2003 domain controllers is a recommendation only. It is safe to upgrade the domain controllers holding the domain naming master and PDC emulator roles at any time in the upgrade process.

Use a domain controller documentation table to document information about each domain controller in the forest. For a worksheet to assist you in documenting your domain controller information, see "Windows 2000 Domain Controller Documentation" (DSSUPWN_2.doc) on the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit companion CD (or see "Windows 2000 Domain Controller Documentation" on the Web at

Figure 9.4 shows an example of a completed domain controller documentation table for Contoso.

Figure 9.4   Example of a Windows 2000 Domain Controller Documentation Table

Windows 2000 Domain Controller Documentation Table

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