In this blog, I will guide you with a very simple step by step approach on how to upgrade your Active Directory from Microsoft Windows 2003 to Microsoft Windows Server 2008. Preparing your Active Directory infrastructure for upgrade to Windows Server 2008 includes the following tasks:
Note: Review the list of operations that Adprep.exe performs in Windows Server 2008, and test the schema updates in a lab environment to ensure that they will not conflict with any applications that run in your environment. There should not be any conflicts if your applications use RFC-compliant object and attribute definitions. For a list of specific operations that are performed when you update the Active Directory schema, see Appendix of Changes to Adprep.exe to support AD DS in Windows Server 2008 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=122499).
You can also test the Active Directory upgrade in a test environment with all the applications configured for testing purposes.
Forest Schema preparation
Before you can add a domain controller that is running Windows Server 2008 to an Active Directory environment that is running Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003, you must update the Active Directory schema. You must update the schema from the domain controller that hosts the schema operations master role (also known as flexible single master operations or FSMO). If you are performing an unattended installation of Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) with Windows Server 2008, you must update the schema before you install the operating system. For normal installations, you must update the schema after you run Setup and before you install AD DS.
Use the following procedure to update the Windows Server 2003 Active Directory schema for Windows Server 2008.
Membership in Enterprise Admins, Schema Admins, and Domain Admins for the domain that contains the schema master is required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477.
To prepare the forest schema for Windows Server 2008
Domain Schema preparation
After you prepare the forest, you need to prepare any domain for which you plan to install a domain controller that runs Windows Server 2008.
Use the following procedure to prepare a Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 domain for Windows Server 2008.
Membership in Domain Admins, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477.
To prepare a Windows 2003 domain for Windows Server 2008
adprep /domainprep /gpprep
After the forest and domain based schema is prepared, new Windows Server 2008 based domain controllers can be added to the domain.
Install Active Directory on Windows Server 2008
Install Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) on a Windows Server 2008–based member server that is located in the domain by using the Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard (Dcpromo.exe). After you install AD DS successfully, the Windows Server 2008–based member server will become a domain controller. You can install AD DS on any Windows Server 2008–based member server that meets the domain controller hardware requirements.
You can install AD DS using the Windows Server 2008 Windows interface. The Windows interface in Windows Server 2008 provides two wizards that guide you through the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) installation process. One wizard is the Add Roles Wizard, which you can access in Server Manager. The other wizard is the Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard (Dcpromo.exe), which you can access in either of the following ways:
Membership in the local Administrator account, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477.
To install AD DS on a Windows Server 2008–based member server:
This looks to be a very complete and comprehensive checklist for upgrading from AD 2003 to AD 2008. I have a related question as it seems that you are involved with both AD and Exchange. I am planning an upgrade from AD 2003 to AD 2008 in the near future.
My question is whether Exchange 2007 running on Server 2003 will still work under on AD 2008?
At the present time I do not have the resources to purchase a new server, load it with Server 2008, and migrate Exchange to it, and would really like to leave my Exchange 2007 on the 2003 Server if at all possible.
Yes, that should be fine. Look at Exchange Supportability Matrix at
Nice Blog Omar
This is a complete document , and can be used as a good reference for upgradation
Nice work. Thank you for all your efforts
Nice steps Thanks for your work
very good ,
Good One... Thanks
Thanks Omar, you explained things very well
Good Work....Buddy !!!!
Complete Guide, good job.
Thanks much. This is a super document :)
A very explanatory and comprehensive article covering all the aspects.