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Removing a failing Windows 2000 Active Directory controller

Dec 16, 20022 mins
Enterprise Applications

We are having a problem with a server – the only Active Directory controller for our small network – intermittently shutting down for no apparent reason. The company that provided the hardware thinks it is a hardware problem but is not totally sure. The server can run for 15 to 20 minutes, but most of the time can run for several hours. What can we do to get to a more stable situation?

– Via the Internet

The first thing I recommend is you get another server on the network promoted to the role of domain controller. You can do this by using DCPROMO. If you don’t have another server on the network, get one set up quickly. During a time that the problem server is running, promote the new server to domain controller status. Also make sure that this server is flagged in Active Directory as a Catalog server so non Active Directory-aware applications will still be able to function when you take the failing domain controller off the network.

If you are using any sort of login script, migrate these to the new controller, copy the profiles directory to the new server and make the changes in Active Directory for users and computers to point to the new server. The same goes for anything unique to the server you’re having a problem with. Look at anything that is on the first controller such as DHCP, DNS, etc., and move these services over to the new server.

You will need to document the current shares and recreate them, as well as rights assigned to specific groups, etc. Hopefully you have this in some type of binder documenting your current network. If not, get what you can while you are migrating to a new server and double check everything before shutting the server down for good.

Once you have things up and running, use DCPROMO on the failing server to demote it from domain controller status. After you have done that, put it in a new workgroup (I use RESTINPEACE for this type of operation) and then you can shut it down at that point. There is more than one way to replace a failing domain controller, this is just one option. I have tried to give you a thumbnail sketch of how to change over to a new server without impacting current operations too much.