Best Practice tips for Active Directory Domain Controller conversions

  • 7920501
  • 24-Feb-2006
  • 27-Apr-2012


PlateSpin Migrate, Protect and Forge with Windows Domain Controller source workloads.


This article outlines best practices for conversions of Windows 2000, 2003 and 2008 Active Directory domain controller conversions (P2V, P2P, V2V & V2P).



Inside an active directory tree, there are no longer Primary Domain Controllers (PDC) and Backup Domain Contollers (BDC). Instead, all machines are classified as Domain Contollers, with 5 FSMO roles. These roles cover the functions of Schema Master, Domain naming master, Infrastructure Master, Relative ID (RID) Master, and PDC Emulator.  Each of these five roles can be split up and loaded onto multiple machines, or assigned to one machine.

When converting an Active Directory domain controller in a Windows 2000, 2003 or  2008 domain with more than one domain controller, best practices dictate that the Domain Administrator should move all the FSMO roles on the machine that is being migrated to another domain controller.  This will allow all the remaining domain controllers to maintain the active synchronization and prevents any negative impact on the performance or stability of the domain during the migration.


If you have questions about this article please contact PlateSpin Support at

Additional Information

For additional information, please refer to the following Microsoft KB articles regarding moving FSMO roles between domain controllers:

NOTE:   PlateSpin does not recommend seizing the FSMO roles.  If transferring the roles fails, it may be an indication of other Active Directory issues which should be addressed before converting the machine to increase the chances of proper functionality post conversion.  In addition, please ensure that the post conversion action for the source or target is set to shutdown after the conversion, as issues may arise if duplicate Domain Controllers are online in the same environment at the same time. Problems may also occur if the target Domain Controller is not pointing to a valid DNS server, as this may cause issues with its ability to register the necessary service records.