Step 2: Install Windows Server Essentials as a new replica domain controller

Applies To: Windows Server 2016 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 Essentials

This section describes how to install Windows Server Essentials and Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard (with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role enabled) as a domain controller.

For environments with up to 25 users and 50 devices, you can follow the steps in this guide to migrate from previous versions of Windows SBS to Windows Server Essentials. For environments with up to 100 users and 200 devices, you can follow the same guidance to migrate to the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2012 R2 with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role installed. Both scenarios are covered in this documentation.

Important

If you migrate to Windows Server Essentials, the following error message is added to the event log each day during the 21-day grace period until you remove the Source Server from your network. After the 21-day grace period, the Source Server will shut down.
The FSMO Role Check detected a condition in your environment that is out of compliance with the licensing policy. The Management Server must hold the primary domain controller and domain naming master Active Directory roles. Please move the Active Directory roles to the Management Server now. This server will be automatically shut down if the issue is not corrected in 21 days from the time this condition was first detected.

Install Windows Server Essentials or Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard on the Destination Server

  1. Install Windows Server Essentials or Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role enabled by following the instructions in Install and Configure Windows Server Essentials.

    Note

    If the Configure Windows Server Essentials Wizard launches, cancel it.

  2. Transfer the FSMO roles from your Source Server.

    Note

    If Windows Server Essentials is the only domain controller in the domain, the FSMO role is automatically moved to the server running Windows Server Essentials when you demote the Source Server.

  3. Open Server Manager and run the Add Roles and Features wizard.

  4. If not installed, add the Windows Server Essentials Experience role.

  5. After you install the Windows Server Essentials Experience role, the Configure Windows Server Essentials task appears in the notification area. Click the task to launch the Configure Windows Server Essentials wizard.

  6. Follow the instructions to complete the configuration of Windows Server Essentials. Before you run the wizard, do the following:

    • Change the server name if needed, because you cannot change the name after you have completed the Configure Windows Server Essentials Wizard.

    • Ensure that the server's time and settings are correct.

  7. Verify the installation as follows:

    1. Open the Dashboard.

    2. Click to Users tab, and verify that the user accounts in your Active Directory are listed.

Transfer the operations master roles

The operations master (also called flexible single master operations or FSMO) roles must be transferred from the Source Server to the Destination Server within 21 days of installing Windows Server Essentials on the Destination Server.

To transfer the operations master roles
  1. On the Destination Server, open a Command Prompt window as an administrator. See To open a Command Prompt window as an Administrator.

  2. At the command prompt, type NETDOM QUERY FSMO, and then press ENTER.

  3. At the command prompt, type ntdsutil, and then press ENTER.

  4. At the ntdsutil command prompt, enter the following commands:

    1. Type activate instance NTDS, and then press ENTER.

    2. Type roles, and then press ENTER.

    3. Type connections, and then press ENTER.

    4. Type connect to server <ServerName> (where <ServerName> is the name of the Destination Server), and then press ENTER.

    5. At the command prompt, type q, and then press ENTER.

      1. Type transfer PDC, press ENTER, and then click Yes in the Role Transfer Confirmation dialog box.

      2. Type transfer infrastructure master, press ENTER, and then click Yes in the Role Transfer Confirmation dialog box.

      3. Type transfer naming master, press ENTER, and then click Yes in the Role Transfer Confirmation dialog box.

      4. Type transfer RID master, press ENTER, and then click Yes in the Role Transfer Confirmation dialog box.

      5. Type transfer schema master, press ENTER, and then click Yes in the Role Transfer Confirmation dialog box.

    6. Type q, and then press ENTER until you return to the command prompt.

Note

From any server on the network, you can verify that the operations master roles have been transferred to the Destination Server. Open a Command Prompt window as an administrator (for more information, see To open a Command Prompt window as an Administrator). Type netdom query fsmo, and then press ENTER.

Next steps

You have installed Windows Server Essentials as a new replica domain controller. Now go to Step 3: Join computers to the new Windows Server Essentials server.

To view all the steps, see Migrate to Windows Server Essentials.