Can you rename a Windows 2003 Domain?

We’ve been talking about doing this. We currently are using the same domain name as our external DNS name for all the domains in the forest. I’ve talked about consolidating to one domain then renaming it to a *.local DNS name. This has really become an issue since we started using  AD based DFS, when you are outside the network, DFS mapped drives hang because they are querying the external DNS servers for records and host names. 🙁 Not fun!

So we learned recently that Microsoft has made great strides in allowing you to rename a domain in Server 2003. They have provided a tool but remember this CAN NOT be used on a Windows 2000 domain and will cause you lots of problems.

With this being said here was the situation:

A company was bought out by another company and wanted to retain the purchased companies domain structure while just changing the domain name. Google an Admin’s best friend returned this
page from Technet…

Here is the direct link to the tool and a excerpt from the Microsoft site (But we recommend reading the whole thing before you begin!)…

The Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Domain Rename Tools provide a security-enhanced and supported methodology to rename one or more domains (as well as application directory partitions) in a deployed Active Directory forest. The DNS name and the NetBIOS name of a domain can be changed using the domain rename procedure. For an understanding of the constraints of the domain rename procedure, please see the accompanying document, "Understanding How Domain Rename Works," available on this page.

Note: These tools are for use with Windows Server 2003 only. Do not use them with Windows 2000.

Worked like a charm. Everything is up and running – so far so good! But the real test will be in the morning. When we attempted this about 10 years ago on a NT domain it was horrible and just didn’t work. Microsoft sure has come along way!
Have you renamed a domain? How did it go? Hit us up in the comments…

Can you rename a Windows 2003 Domain?
Karl L. Gechlik
Tue, 11 Dec 2007 12:18:00 GMT

[tags]windows, active directory, AD, DFS, microsoft[/tags]

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