Quickly and easily install a Windows 2008 R2 Domain Controller

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To many, installing a domain controller might seem like an intimidating task, however, it really isn’t that difficult.  Many organizations are at least getting their infrastructure up to the Windows 2008 R2 level.  The below will be a quick and dirty checklist of things you will need to do in order to get the first Windows 2008 R2 DC installed in your environment.

First things first on the checklist of things to do is to make sure that your schema is ready to handle the Windows 2008 R2 Active Directory updates and changes.  This may be a little confusing or intimidating as well, but basically you are updating the AD settings so that it “knows” about the Windows 2008 R2 changes.

Updating the Forest and Domain Schema

To update your forest schema, you must login to a domain controller that is the schema master of the forest and mount your Windows 2008 R2 media

  • run adprep /forestprep

To update the domain for Windows 2008 R2 AD you need to run the following command on the infrastructure master in each domain you plan to install your Windows 2008 R2 DC

  • run adprep /domainprep

After you have successfully completely the above initial steps, you are ready to install the new Windows 2008 R2 DC.

Loading Windows

The steps are pretty simple once the above is completed.  To get a new Windows 2008 R2 DC running:

  • Load up a new server with Windows 2008 R2 installed
  • Name the server what you want the DC to be
  • Join the server to the domain you are going to install the new DC in
  • Make sure your network settings are what you want them to be, including DNS settings as these are critical for proper AD operation
  • Run dcpromo.exe and follow the prompts
  • Once the server reboots from the dcpromo operation, you will then have a functioning domain controller
  • At this point you can transfer any FSMO roles to the new DC (best practice suggests splitting up your FSMO roles between servers so that no DC is overloaded.  Microsoft also recommends that you DO NOT install a global catalog server and the infrastructure master role on the same DC.

Sanity Checks

It would be best to run a sanity check and health check on your new DC to make sure everything is as it should be.  Check the dcpromo log files to parse for any errors:

  • DCPROMO logs are located in c:\windows\debug on your new Windows 2008 R2 server
  • Use the repadmin utility on the new DC to check for any errors with replication between all DCs

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