Servers70-240 in 15 minutes a week: Introduction to Windows 2000 Server and...

70-240 in 15 minutes a week: Introduction to Windows 2000 Server and Active Directory Page 5

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Welcome to article 8 in my 70-240 in 15 minutes a week series. This week’s article is the first in our look at the Windows 2000 Server portion of the exam – it covers an introduction to both Windows 2000 Server as well as Active Directory concepts…

Upgrading to Windows 2000

You should be familiar with the process of upgrading a domain from Windows NT 4 to Windows 2000 for the Server portion of exam. Creating your new Active Directory domain involves upgrading your existing domain controllers to Windows 2000. Note that member servers and workstations can be upgrading at any time, whether before or after the domain upgrade takes place.

When upgrading a domain, the first machine to be upgraded should be the current PDC. Upgrading the domain will allow all user, group, and computer information that currently exists to be migrated to Active Directory. Before you upgrade the PDC however, Microsoft recommends that you do a full domain synchronization, and then take one BDC offline. If the upgrade were to fail, you could then place the BDC back on the network, promote it to the PDC, and be back to where you originally started. 

After you upgrade the PDC and get Windows 2000 installed, dcpromo will run automatically to turn the system into a domain controller. Your domain will now be in something referred to as Mixed mode, or a state where NT 4 BDCs can continue to exist, using the upgraded PDC (who is now the PDC emulator) as their domain synchronization source. Once all domain controllers have been upgraded to Windows 2000, you can switch the domain to Native mode. The differences between Mixed and Native mode are discussed below:

Mixed Mode: A mode that allows for NT BDC to continue to exists, and allows you to revert to an NT 4 domain if necessary. Even in a non-upgrade scenario, Windows 2000 automatically creates new domains in Mixed mode, requiring you to explicitly switch the domain to Native mode.

Native Mode: In Native mode, all domain controllers run Windows 2000. The switch to native mode provides the ability to create Universal groups, nest groups, and control remote access via RAS policy amongst other things. 

Note that changing from Mixed mode to Native mode is a one-way process and cannot be reversed. Some possible problems / issues with respect to upgrading domains that you should be aware of:

– All domain controllers running Windows 2000 require at least one NTFS partition to house the SYSVOL folder. This is the folder structure that needs to be replicated amongst domain controllers.
– A system being upgraded must be configured to use a DNS server that supports SRV (service) records.
– If no DNS server is available, Windows 2000 will create one for you, making the system an Active Directory Integrated DNS server (more on this later in the series).
– If the dcpromo process fails or returns an error, ensure that domain names provided are entered correctly, that proper network connectivity exists, and that there is enough disk space (dcpromo requires approximately 250 MB of space total).

For a domain controller installation checklist, Click Here.

And there we are, with yet another week completed. Next week I’ll continue the Windows 2000 Server portion of series, taking a look at both Networking Services as well as managing domain objects. Thanks again to everyone who has contacted me supporting the series, I sincerely appreciate it. As always, feel free to contact me with any comments of questions, I look forward to your feedback. It’s never too early to start practicing for the real exam, so why not add going through one of my smaller 10-question practice exams to your weekly study regiment? We’ve covered the Pro material already, so you might want to give those exams a shot to begin with – find them here. Also, be sure to sign up for my giveaway contest – the lucky winner will be announced on April 16th. Until next week, good luck with your studies!



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