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Migrate Active Directory Services from Windows 2008 to 2012 R2 Part 1

Windows Server 2012

In this article series I’m going to explore the steps about migrating the Active Directory Domain Controller from windows server 2008 to Windows 2012 R2. It’s been a while since Windows Server 2012 R2 has been released and it is also time to refresh the lab environment migrating to Windows 2012 R2 version. I’m using the word migrating as opposed to upgrading on purpose as per best practices from Microsoft who is suggesting a side by side installation rather than an upgrade on the same box. So this article series will be consisting   of three parts:

  • Prepare the AD Schema to be migrated

  • Install the AD Directory Services to a new Windows Server 2012 R2

  • Move the AD roles from  Windows 2008 to Windows 2012

Let’s start with Part 1: Prepare the AD Schema to be migrated 

First of all before proceeding it is a best practice to have a working backup of the existing environment should things not work as expected. Next is to create a clean install of Windows Server 2012 R2 possibly based on a working template and updated with the latest hotfixes. Once we have the new Windows 2012 R2 available let’s simply join this machine to the Domain.

We are now ready to work with the existing Windows 2008 server. Let’s pop the Windows Server 2012 R2 disc or ISO to the old sever and from the command line let’s run the Adprep utilities


First of all we can start with the adprep.exe /forestprep as per screenshot below


In my case the Schema version is 47 and will be updated to 69

Let’s repeat the same command but in this case we use the Adprep.exe /domainprep


The actual version of the current AD schema can also be verified in the registry on the following location:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\NTDS\Parameters\Schema Version


This concludes the first part of the article. We are now ready to proceed with the installation of the AD DS on the new Windows Server 2012 R2

About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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