New in Windows Server 2003 - Domain rename

By Bryan Muehlberger, ITworld |  How-to

In the previous version of Active Directory that was introduced with
Windows 2000 Server, it was not inherently easy to rename a domain.
However, with the new version of AD that is included in the release of
Windows Server 2003, you now have the ability to rename domains in an
Active Directory forest after the forest structure is in place.

Since all child domains and trees within an existing forest derive their
distinguished names and DNS names from the forest root domain, having
the ability to change a domain name after the AD design has been
deployed gives administrators more flexibility in their design
decisions. In the past, you were almost stuck with your initial design,
even if you organization's structure or administrative requirements
changed shortly after implementation. Having the flexibility to change a
domain name is a great feature.

The utility that makes all of this possible is rendom.exe. This is the
command-line utility for renaming domains in Windows Server 2003 forests
and can be found on Microsoft's web site at the link listed below. This
new utility supports changing the Domain Name System (DNS) and/or
NetBIOS names of existing domains in a forest, keeping the resulting
forest still "well formed."

There are still a few caveats to renaming a Windows 2003 AD Domain. For
example, you cannot:

1. Change which domain is the forest root domain.

2. Drop or add a domain from the existing forest. NOTE: The number of
domains in the forest before the rename/restructure operation must equal
the number of domains in the forest after the rename/restructure
operation.

3. Rename a domain with the same name that another domain gave up during
a single forest rename/restructure operation. If this is your goal, it
would require two distinct rename/restructure operations.

To find out more about domain rename and the rendom.exe utility, check
out the following link on Microsoft's website:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/downloads/domainrename.mspx

Next week I will continue my discussion on the new features in Windows
Server 2003.

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