Upgrading SBS 2000 to SBS 2003 and Exchange 2000 to 2003

I recently did a job to upgrade Windows Small Business Server 2000 to Windows Small Business Server 2003. This server was running on a network of around 30 PCs (XP and 98), 30 users, with numerous different types of printers. The server ran Pervasive and SQL databases and Exchange 2000.

We did a huge amount of research for this upgrade. Microsoft Pre-sales Technical Support offered two routes for doing the upgrade:

“If you have an existing server in your network, you can upgrade it to Windows Small Business Server 2003. There are two options for completing an upgrade:

• Upgrade the existing server to Windows Small Business Server 2003

• Install Windows Small Business Server 2003 on a new server and then migrate the existing server’s data and settings”

We decided to do the inplace upgrade, as the customer had an existing installation and was not likely to buy a new server box. We tested the upgrade in a test lab, mirroring the same environment as near as possible. The test upgrade went through without any problems. In fact, the documentation we found regarding this upgrade all pointed to be a straight forward upgrade, with no significant problems. Exchange included.

However, this was not a straight forward upgrade. When dealing with SBS, you have to be careful not to annoy it, because it starts stamping its foot and wanting to be in-charge. The main draw back with SBS is that the SBS server needs to be the root Domain Controller in the forest. You can’t have more than one SBS server in a forest at any one time. Disobey these rules at your peril.

Needless to say, the upgrade didn’t go as planned. Half an hour before the end of the upgrade, we got major registry errors and the installation could not continue.

Having been through this, I would now only offer ONE route for an SBS upgrade. The SBS should be decommissioned from the existing domain, be clean installed and then promoted back into the domain. Again this sounds easy, but do not forget that SBS is a control freak and wants to be in-charge of the whole forest. So asking it to take a back seat needs slow and carefull attention. Plus if you throw exchange into the mix, this makes for quite a complex operation. Do not experiment on a live system. The slightest error and you loose the whole domain. In fact, when we did this, we ran a test lab alongside the live system so we could completley test all steps beofre working on the live sysem.

Microsoft don’t really have documentaion covering this complete process. We kida figured this out for ourselvs and worked backwards on a couple of the tutorials.

The basic process to remove an SBS server from a domain while keepng all Exchange and domain settings is:

1. Join a Windows Server 2003 Stardard to the domain as a member server.

2. Install DNS on the new server

3. DC promo the 2003 Standard server.

4. Make the 2003 Standard Server a Global Catalog server. Reboot and wait for event 1119 or 1869 showing the new DC is now a GC – This very important. Remember no Global Catalog means no one can log on!

5. Change the IP address of the new DC to point to itself. Change the IP address of the SBS to point to the new DC.

6. Transfer the FSMO roles to the new DC

7. Wait for replication to happen. Give it a good 15 minutes, depending upon the size of your network.

8. Install Exchange onto the new DC. Accept defaults.

9. Transfer mailboxes and public folders from SBS to the new DC Follow KB822931 to remove the SBS exchange server from your organisation.

10. Uninstall exchange from SBS. Dcpromo SBS out of the domain.

After all these seps, you are now ready to clean install SBS 2003 and then do the reverse to get it back in the domain.

Follow KB884453 to install the new SBS 2003 back into the domain. This gives you all the steps required to join your new SBS server into the existing domain, including the exchange steps. Good luck.

Stay alert till the last moment. Don’t start smoking cigars until everything has been transferred over and the 2003 Standard Server has had exchange uninstallaed and it has been dcpromo out of the domain.


Essential documents to do the upgrade

KB822931 How to remove the first Exchange Server 2003 computer from the administrative group

KB884453 How to install Small Business Server 2003 in an existing Active Directory domain

Resources for doing an inplace upgrade (not recommended without a safety net)

From Small Business Server 2000 to Small Business Server 2003

For information about completing an upgrade, see Chapter 3Bof the Getting Started guide.

For step-by-step instructions to complete a server migration, see Migrating from Small Business Server 2000 or Windows 2000 Server to Windows Small Business Server 2003.

Note To complete an upgrade, you must be running Small Business Server 2000 Service Pack 1. If you are not running Service Pack 1, see Knowledge Base article 326924 on the Microsoft Support site for information about downloading the service pack.

Windows Small Business Server 2003 Upgrade Best Practices

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