Migrate to SBS 2008 from Server 2000

I thought I would share my migration experience in the event it might help someone else struggling with this issue.  Microsoft has no direct path for migration from server 2000 so the idea of such a move will keep an IT guy awake at night – thoughts of unjoining and rejoining the domain on every workstations dancing in your head.  There is a solution.  It’s a little clunky, but it works. Feel free to respond with a better or easier way, but here is what I did:

The migration obstacle is overcome by using an intermediate server with 2003 installed.  Basically, I installed a temporary copy of server 2003 on a laptop  (I’ll let you worry about MS licensing for the copy of 2003 which you will only need for about a day). After adprepping the old 2000 server, I ran dcpromo on the 2003 server and made it an active directory server.  Then I also made it a global catalog server.  Google the info if you need; the documentation is readily available.  Once the temporary server 2003 had synchronized all active directory information, I ran dcpromo on the customer’s server to demote it, making my laptop the master domain controller on the network.

You will need to Adprep the 2003 server now using the install DVD from SBS 2008.  Once this is done, I returned to the new SBS 2008 server.  Having created an answer file , I resumed the final part of the install in migration mode.  Again, Google proved invaluable for this part. My first attempt through the answer file was unsuccessful in getting the new server to login to the domain. I hadn’t installed and configured DNS on the temporary server.  This was oversight on my part but easily corrected.

Once the answer file was correctly navigated, the server finished the install.  I logged into the server and immediately opened the users tab in the SBS console and was disappointed to see all my users missing.  As a test, I tried to add an existing user account, but was informed the user already existed.  I tried a few more and they existed too.

 I opened Active Directly Users and Computers, bypassing the SBS console and noted that all my user accounts were there.  My groups were there too, but I had to add the appropriate users back to them.  A Google search quickly gave me the remedy for displaying my users in the SBS console by running the Change User Role wizard and selecting all users to add.

I finished promoting the new SBS 2008 to a global catalog server and then turned off the temporary server.  Users could still login to the domain without any problems.  I didn’t want to jump the gun, so I proceeded to configure other things on the new server to ensure everything was working properly.

My final step was to dcpromo the temporary laptop server back down to a member server and remove it from the domain.  All this might sound like a lot of work, but these steps saved a tremendous amount of time and made migration nearly seamless for the end users on the domain.