More about Moving from Windows 2003 to SBS 2008

Posted: January 6, 2009 in Exchange 2007, SBS 2008, Windows 2003 Server
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You might have some confusion, as I did, about migrating from Windows 2003 (not SBS 2003) to SBS 2008. This is not so tough, but there are a few things you need to know. Let me help.

First, because there is no limitation on having Windows Server 2003 join an SBS domain, there is no 21 day clock to worry about. So a great part of the migration preparation and timing are things you don’t have to worry about.

Here are the steps you do need to do:

  1. Run forestprep and domainprep from the SBS 2008 DVD on the Windows 2003 machine.
  2. Don’t run the KB update for Exchange Server 2003.  It doesn’t work and isn’t needed.
  3. Create an answer file and use it for the SBS 2008 install.

Make sure the SBS 2008 machine is on the same network as the 2003 server.  Then, insert the USB or other device containing the answer file and begin the install from the DVD.  As a suggestion, when you create the answer file, check the box to make the installation unattended.  It eases some work on your part.

The first few things you need to do at this point are different from migrating from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008.  Some things you don’t do, and others are unique to migrating from Windows Server 2003.

  • The Administrator built-in account will still be operative in the domain once SBS 2008 starts up.  You should create the network administrator account that will eventually replace it in the SBS 2008 console.  When you have removed the 2003 server from the domain later, you can disable the Administrator account.
  • The domain users probably won’t be visible in the SBS console.  You will need to do a bit of adjusting.  I cover the possible steps later.
  • The domain computers probably won’t be visible in the SBS console either.  Again, I will cover the steps later.
  • You don’t need to do, and in fact cannot do, the migration step shown on the SBS console tasks.  Just click the check box and move on.
How do you make the domain users visible?

I found it took two steps.

  1. On either server, open the Administrator tool for AD users and computers.  Find the container where your domain users are located, select the users, and move them to the SBSUSers container located under the MyBusiness container.
  2. From the SBS Console, click on the Users and Groups tab, and you should be on the Users sub-tab. If you have created a new network administrator account here, it should be visible, but the existing domain users should not be.  On the right hand task pane, click on “Change user role for user accounts.”  A window will appear that asks you to select the role  to be applied to users.  Select the appropriate role, click next, and at the bottom of the user accounts list, click on “Display all user accounts in the Active Directory.”  Then select all of the user accounts for the role you selected, and then complete the wizard.  Repeat for each different role you want to assign.

Once you have completed these steps, your existing domain users are visible in the SBS Console.

How do you make the domain computers visible?

This required only a single step.  Open the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in from Administrator Tools.  Find the folder containing the domain computers.  Select them and move the selected computers to the MyBusiness/Computers Folder.

What next?

It is hard to cookbook exactly what the next steps are.  You probably want to relocate any shared folders and line of business applications to the new SBS 2008 box.  You also want to migrate from Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange Server 2007 on SBS 2008. In order to do this, use System Manager on the 2003 box or Exchange Console on the SBS box to move the mailboxes.

You also need to re-home the pubic folders.  Once that is done, you can uninstall Exchange 2003 if you are sure that your mail is flowing correctly.  NOTE Make sure you run the wizards in the SBS Console or manually reset your router to forward SMTP requests to the SBS 2008 box! Also, if you use a smart host, configure it from the SBS Console.

If you have a custom connector set up in Exchange 2003, make sure it is set up and configured properly for Exchange 2007.  Delete any unneeded or duplicate connectors.

Follow the instructions in this article to remove Exchange 2003 from the domain: How to Remove the first Exchange 2003 Server.

Next, you can dcpromo the Windows Server 2003 from the domain, or if you have other uses for a domain server, it can be left as part of the domain.


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