• Contents
  • Introduction
  • Choosing the Best Operating System
  • Published: March 2003

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    Migrating Windows NT Server 4.0 Domains to Windows Server 2003 Active Directory

    Microsoft Corporation

    Published: March 2003


    The Microsoft® Windows® Server 2003 family of operating systems provides significant enhancements over the Microsoft Windows NT® Server 4.0 family of server products. The Windows Server 2003 family was designed to allow for an easy upgrade from Windows NT Server 4.0. This document provides an overview of the process for upgrading or migrating to the Windows Server 2003 Active Directory® service and provides information on some of the basic decisions to be made during the process.

    This is a preliminary document and may be changed substantially prior to final commercial release of the software described herein. The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.


    Complying with all applicable copyright laws is the responsibility of the user. Without limiting the rights under copyright, no part of this document may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), or for any purpose, without the express written permission of Microsoft Corporation.

    Microsoft may have patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property rights covering subject matter in this document. Except as expressly provided in any written license agreement from Microsoft, the furnishing of this document does not give you any license to these patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property.

    © 2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    Microsoft, Active Directory, BackOffice, SQL Server, Windows, Windows logo, and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

    The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.


    Contents iii

    Introduction 1

    Choosing the Best Operating System 2

    Verifying System Requirements and Hardware Compatibility 4

    Choosing to Upgrade or to Perform a Migration 6

    Active Directory Considerations 9

    Summary 26

    Related Links 27


    The Microsoft® Windows® Server 2003 family of operating systems represents a significant advancement over the Microsoft Windows NT® Server 4.0 family of products. The Windows Server 2003 family, which includes Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, provides a platform that is more productive, dependable, and connected than ever before. New and improved file, print, application, Web, and communication services provide a more robust, comprehensive platform for your mission-critical business resources. Integrated features such as the Active Directory® service and enterprise-class security services allow you to provide secure yet flexible access to all the resources your users need.

    Designed to be used specifically as a Web server, Windows Server 2003, Web Edition, is also available. Those desiring stand-alone Web functionality will benefit from this low-cost operating system, which is easy to deploy and manage.

    Choosing the Best Operating System

    One of the first decisions to make in preparation for the upgrade is choosing which version of Windows Server 2003 will best meet your needs. The Microsoft Windows Server 2003 product family includes four versions:

    • Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition. Designed for small organizations and departmental use, Standard Edition delivers intelligent file and printer sharing, secure Internet connectivity, centralized desktop application deployment, and Web solutions that connect employees, partners, and customers. Standard Edition provides high levels of dependability, scalability, and security.

    • Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition. Designed for medium to large businesses, Enterprise Edition is the recommended operating system for servers running applications such as networking, messaging, inventory, and customer service systems, databases, and e-commerce Web sites. Enterprise Edition delivers high reliability, performance, and superior business value. It will be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

    • Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition. Designed for businesses that demand the highest levels of scalability, availability, and reliability, Datacenter Edition lets you deliver mission-critical solutions for databases, enterprise resource planning software, high-volume real-time transaction processing, and server consolidation. Datacenter Edition will be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

    • Windows Server 2003, Web Edition. Designed for building and hosting Web applications, Web pages, and XML Web services, Web Edition delivers a single-purpose solution for Internet service providers, application developers, and others wishing only to use or deploy specific Web functionality. Web Edition takes advantage of improvements in Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0, Microsoft ASP.NET, and the Microsoft .NET Framework.

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