Transition from Small Business Server to Standard Windows Server

Transition from Small Business Server to Standard Windows Server

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Transition from Small Business Server to Standard Windows Server

These steps are applicable for transition from all the versions of Small Business Server to Windows Server 2008/ 2008 R2/ 2012.

Note: The Transition Pack which was used previously for same is no more available.

Transition Process:

1. To ensure a seamless Transition we need to start by performing Health Check of AD and Exchange using tools like dcdiag, BPA for SBS 2003, 2008 and 2011 and BPA for Exchange:

2. Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices Analyzer:

3. We always need to ensure that we take a complete backup along with System State Backup of the SBS Server.

Description of the Windows NT Backup Restore Utility for Windows 7 and for Windows Server 2008 R2

4. Install the new Standard Windows Server OS (2008 R2) on the new hardware and join it to the existing SBS domain.

5. Upgrade the Schema on SBS Server 2003/ 2008 to support Windows 2008 R2

a. Insert the media for Windows Server 2008 R2 into the Small Business Server 2003/2008 server.

b. Browse to the following folder:

<DVD drive >:\Sources\Adprep> Adprep /forestprep

c. Press C, and then press ENTER. Wait for the process to complete.

d. Type the following command:

<DVD drive >:\Sources\Adprep>Adprep /domainprep

when this step completes, you should receive a message: “Adprep successfully update the domain-wide Information”

6. Promote the new Windows 2008 R2 to be a Domain Controller and DNS Server.


7. Make 2008 R2 as Global Catalog

8. Migrate the DHCP database

Application Movement:

All the applications, services and data that are installed or configured on SBS machine (Exchange, SharePoint, File Server Terminal Server License etc.) we need to transfer them on to 2008 R2 DC or member server’s depending on the nature of the application.

1. Exchange Migration:

2. Before moving FSMO roles install the below hotfix, applicable only in case of SBS 2003

This software update extends the allowable grace period for the supported scenarios from 7 days to 21 days.

3. Transfer FSMO roles to WS08R2:;EN-US;255504

After you move the FSMO roles you have 21 days grace period to keep the SBS box running.

Note: After the completion of 21st day, the SBS box reboots itself few time during the day, services become inconsistent, so it’s recommended to perform the steps before this period end.

After proper testing in production uninstall Exchange from SBS. After making sure users are able to access and authenticate from the domain.

Demote SBS Server and unjoin it from the domain, reformat and use the hardware for any other purpose.

And you are done. Monitor the environment for a few more days for errors in the event log and make sure that all of them are rectified if any.


- A-Team

  • Very interesting...  So, this begs the question...  is this supported?  I see nothing on the SBS Team blog that refers to anything like this.  Further documentation from the SBS side to explain that this transition is supported would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

  • Hi Luke,

    This kind of transition is supported.

    There are two possibilities:

    1. Break fix errors that occurs on windows server will be handled by the Windows support team.

    2. Application failure errors (Exchange, sharepoint) will be taken care by respective teams.

    Hope this helps.



  • Sounds good.  Thanks!

  • Interesting, a great article.

    Very useful


  • For those migrating from SBS 2003 to Windows 2012, you no longer need to upgrade the Schema on step 5. Once you promote Windows 2012, it will update the Schema for you. Also, there is no 32 bit Adprep on Windows 2012 DVD.

  • Great article and more in depth than any other article relating to this topic. We have go from SBS 2011 to Server 2008 R2 eventually sometime this year because of number of users. Do you know if any of the SBS Licenses carry over to Server 2008 R2? I know I probably have to get Exchange CALs, but I was hoping 75 SBS CALs would turn to Windows CALs and are not just a waste. thanks,

  • How do you find out how many days are remaining before the source server shuts down? I'm moving from SBS 2008 to 2012 Essentials but the dashboard is completely different from SBS 2011. There's a great blog article for SBS 2011 on how to find this information but I have yet to find one for 2012 Essentials.

  • Is it possible to migrate without Exchange Server SBS 2003? Our Server is corrupt and the customer does not Need it anymore.,.

  • everything worked fine until all the FSMO roles were moved. Once that happened sysvol and netlogon shares were not working correctly.

  • how to migrate the small business server 2003 along with sql 2005 to windows 2008 r2 server

  • how to migrate the small business server 2003 domain along with sql 2005 to windows 2008 r2 server

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  • Can anyone address the best way to address redirected folders and the migration process? Specifically from SBS 2008 to Server Standard 2012.

  • Greg: You should be able to update the Group Policy or create a new Folder Redirection GPO to point to the new server. If you configure the GPO correctly, I believe you can force the workstations to move the files to the new location so that there is no manual intervention. However, if you do this, you may find performing a robocopy of the redirected folders to the new location is beneficial as the workstations will only have to update files instead of copying them all over to the new server again.

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