SBS 2003 Migration (hostile takeover)

Oh the fun of Small Business Server 2003. The price is great but the limitations can be very costly. According to Microsoft you can have multiple domain controllers on a SBS2003 domain but the SBS has to be the Global Catalog. Ergo you can’t demote the SBS without rebuilding your entire domain. The other gotcha is that you can’t migrate out of SBS. Period.

After explaining this scenario to a user they decided to contact Microsoft about migrating from SBS to Standard Server 2003. Microsoft responded with the following migration path. Did I say Migration? I meant hostile takeover. Per MS support here is the process.

Migration from SBS 2003 to Standard Version of Windows 2003 Server with Exchange on New Hardware.

1. Export all user mailboxes on SBS 2003 using Exmerge into .pst files
2. Install Standard Or Enterprise 2003 Server on New Hardware.
a. Do DCPROMO UP and make it a Additional Domain Controller.
b. Now Make 2003 Server as a Primary Domain Controller after Active Directory replication completes.
1.Two ways to Make 2003 server as a Primary Domain Controller.
a.Method 1
(i) Use NTDSUTIL and Transfer all FSMO roles to 2003 server.
(ii) Do a DCPROMO Down on SBS 2003.
b. Method 2
(i) Disconnect or Unplug the Network Cable From SBS 2003.
(ii) Use NTDSUTIL and Seize All FSMO Roles.
3. After getting All FSMO Roles on 2003 Server, do METADATA CLEANUP on 2003 server using NTDSUTIL.
4. Promote 2003 Server to GC (Global Catalog).
5. After making 2003 Server as a GC and doing METADATA CLEANUP Install Microsoft Exchange on 2003 Server and create Mailboxes of All Users manually.
6. Once Mailboxes are created on 2003 Server use Exmerge Utility to Import All Mailboxes (.pst files)

Once All Above written Steps are performed successfully Migration can be considered successful.

This is priceless. Export mail to .pst, sieze FSMO roles, do metadata cleanup… Isn’t this the same path you’d follow if you tossed your SBS2003 server into the nearest river? Give me a break. All this work and you’d still be propagating SBS schema into a Standard Domain.

Here is the real path. Export your mail, toss SBS into river, build domain from scratch.

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