Preparing for an Upgrade

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Start preparing for an upgrade by checking for compatibility issues, creating a disaster recovery plan, and updating the server and clients. Complete final preparations the day before the upgrade. Perform the actual upgrade outside of business hours and with a realistic deadline that minimizes disruption to the business. (In other words, calculate how long the process will take and then double it.)

Checking for Compatibility Issues

Windows Small Business Server 2003 seldom exhibits compatibility problems, though it’s nonetheless a good idea to check the following areas for potential trouble:

  • System requirements To complete the upgrade, the existing server must be running Small Business Server 2000, Windows 2000 Server, or Windows Server 2003; have a minimum of 2 GB of free disk space; and meet all the system requirements listed in Chapter 3, “Designing a Network.”

  • Third-party applications Some third-party applications are incompatible with Windows Server 2003, most notably antivirus programs and some Web applications. Read the updated release notes on the Windows Small Business Server Web site (, and verify with the developers of third-party software that their software is compatible.

  • Device drivers Some older network cards and other devices aren’t supported by Windows Small Business Server 2003 and must be replaced. Visit the Microsoft Windows Catalog at for a listing of certified devices.

  • Client computers Computers running Microsoft Windows 95 or older operating systems should be upgraded or replaced. (If you can’t upgrade Windows 95 clients, install the Active Directory client extensions, as discussed in Chapter 12.)

  • Language The Windows Small Business Server 2003 upgrade software must be the same language edition as the existing operating system.


Server applications that aren’t compatible with Windows Small Business Server 2003 can be run in a virtual machine using Microsoft Virtual Server, or moved to another server on the network.

Preparing for the Worst

Windows Small Business Server is the virtual brain of a small business network, and even when other domain controllers are on the network, the failure of the Windows Small Business Server computer constitutes a disaster. Users lose access to the Internet, Exchange Server e-mail, fax services, and any resources shared by the Windows Small Business Server computer, such as shared folders and printers.

Therefore, it’s extremely important to have a fallback plan if the upgrade doesn’t go smoothly. Start by planning how you can restore from a current backup set and estimating how much time is required. (A major failure during the upgrade could require a basic installation of Windows to access backup sets.)

The upgrade meets an acceptable level of functionality when users can:

  • Log on successfully

  • Access their Exchange server accounts

  • Browse the Internet

  • Access their usual resources (files and printers)

  • Access vital business applications

You might have additional criteria to add to this list.

If the network doesn’t meet the minimum level of functionality by the deadline you’ve set, implement the recovery plan, restore the existing server from backup, and verify proper server functioning. Then evaluate the problems and redesign the upgrade plan to compensate for them (and possibly allow more time to deal with unanticipated issues).

More Info 

For more information about disaster preparation an d recovery, see Chapter 21, “Disaster Planning and Fault Tolerance.”

Preparing the Server

To prepare a server for upgrading to Windows Small Business Server 2003, fix any current problems, install required service packs, remove unnecessary software, and check the items in this list:

  • Check Event Viewer Fix problems reported in Event Viewer before the upgrade.

  • Collect Internet setup information Although Internet settings are preserved during an upgrade, you should have the following information available: the server’s Internet IP address and subnet mask, the host name, the default gateway, DNS server addresses, any PPP Over Ethernet (PPPoE) user name and passwords, and external mail server addresses used by your company.

  • Uninstall unnecessary software Unless you need a software package on the server, uninstall it. This is especially applicable for end user applications such as Microsoft Office—these have no place on a server.

  • Remove Windows 2000 Administration Tools These tools are incompatible with Windows Small Business Server 2003 and must be uninstalled before upgrading.

  • Install the latest system BIOS This reduces the likelihood of device errors or BIOS issues causing stability problems in Windows.


    You should also update the firmware on your firewall device (especially if it supports UPnP) and any wireless access points (especially if you plan on using WPA or 802.1X authentication).

  • Install all necessary service packs and updates Install the service packs that are relevant to the existing server:

    • Small Business Server 2000 Service Pack 1

    • Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (included in Small Business Server Service Pack 1a)

    • Exchange 2000 Service Pack 3 (included in Small Business Server Service Pack 1)

    • ISA Server 2000 Service Pack 1

    • ISA Server 2000 Required Updates For Windows Server 2003 (see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 331062 “Running ISA Server on Windows Server 2003”)

    • SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 3a

  • Remove discontinued Exchange components In the Add Or Remove Programs tool, select Microsoft Small Business Server 2000, click Change/ Remove, and then use the Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 Setup Wizard to remove the following Exchange components (if installed):

    • Microsoft Exchange MSMail Connector

    • Microsoft Exchange Connector for Lotus cc:Mail

    • Microsoft Exchange Instant Messaging Service

    • Microsoft Exchange Chat Service

    • Microsoft Exchange Key Management Service

    More Info 

    Microsoft Exchange Instant Messaging Service and Microsoft Exchange Chat Service have been replaced by Microsoft Live Communications Server 2003. See for more information.

  • Remove Remote Storage If you’re using the Remote Storage service, use the Windows Components Wizard (available from the Add Or Remove Programs tool) to remove it before upgrading.

  • Remove any trust relationships Windows Small Business Server supports only a single domain, so if you have any trust relationships established with other domains, disable them before upgrading.

  • Remove CALs If you’re running Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003, reset the number of installed CALs to five. After installing Windows Small Business Server 2003, you can install additional Windows Small Business Server CALs.

  • Remove the Windows Server 2003 POP3 service If the Windows Server 2003 POP3 service is installed, you must remove it using the Windows Components Wizard, available from the Add Or Remove Programs tool.

  • Make sure that all domain controllers are online Windows Small Business Server can’t install if it can’t contact all domain controllers in the domain, so don’t take any domain controllers offline during the upgrade.

  • Assign all operations master roles to the Small Business Server computer If you have multiple domain controllers, make sure that the Small Business Server computer is the schema master, domain master, relative identifier (RID) master, primary domain controller (PDC) emulator, and infrastructure master.

    More Info 

    For information about transferring operations master roles, see the “Transferring Operations Master Roles” page in Windows Help.

  • Upgrade or retire any Windows NT 4.0 BDCs Windows NT 4.0 backup domain controllers (BDCs) cause the upgrade to halt at the end of the operating system installation phase because Windows Small Business Server 2003 needs to convert the domain to Windows 2000 native functional level. To avert this, upgrade any BDCs to Windows 2000 with SP3 or later, or retire them.

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Real World

Upgrading Remote Domain Controllers

To reduce the amount of replication traffic generated when upgrading or deploying a new domain controller in a remote office, back up the system state information from the Windows Small Business Server 2003 computer and physically ship the backup media to the remote site. Next, upgrade the remote domain controller to Windows Server 2003, or perform a clean install, and restore the system state files to a local hard drive before running the Active Directory Installation Wizard (by specifying Restore Files To: Alternate Location in Backup). Then run the Active Directory Installation Wizard (Dcpromo.exe) with the /adv switch and specify the location of the restored files. This seeds the new or upgraded domain controller with slightly out-of-date Active Directory data, which is updated during the first replication. This first replication is significantly faster than transferring the entire Active Directory.

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Preparing Client Computers

Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 computers must be updated before they can communicate with a Windows Small Business Server 2003 computer, as described in the following list. (Windows XP and Windows 2000 computers require no prior preparation.)

  • Upgrade or retire any Windows 95 clients Windows 95 (and older) clients can’t communicate on a Windows Small Business Server 2003 network without some additional work (as discussed in Chapter 12, “Managing Computers on the Network”), so you should replace the computers, or upgrade them to a newer version of Windows. If that’s not possible, install the Active Directory Client Extensions (included on the companion CD with this book, Small Business Server 2000 CD 1, and the Windows 2000 Server CD).

  • Update Windows NT 4.0 computers Install Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 6a and Internet Explorer 6 on Windows NT 4.0 computers before upgrading the Small Business Server computer so that these computers can continue communicating on the network.


Besides preparing client computers, you must also prepare users as far ahead of time as possible. Tell users when the upgrade will occur, how long the network will be down, and how the upgrade will benefit them.

More Info 

Outlook 2003 can only be installed on Windows XP and Windows 2000 clients. For more information about the limitations of earlier clients, see Chapter 12.

Final Preparation

The day before you upgrade to Windows Small Business Server 2003, perform the following tasks:

  1. Check all hard drives for errors using chkdsk c: at a command prompt (where c is the drive letter you want to check). If any errors are detected, run chkdsk c: /f to correct the errors.

  2. Use the Disk Cleanup Wizard to find and delete unnecessary files.

  3. Defragment the system drive.

  4. Update virus definitions and perform a complete virus scan. Then uninstall the antivirus program. If you know that the program works under Windows Server 2003 without modification, you can simply disable it.


    Don’t back up or scan the Exchange M: drive for viruses. Doing so can lead to Exchange database corruption.

  5. Locate all drivers and operating system CD-ROMs.

  6. Reboot into Safe Mode (unless you’re running Windows Server 2003) and then perform a full backup including the system state. Test the backup set by restoring some randomly selected files to an alternate location and comparing the files with the originals. If you don’t have a satisfactory backup solution, implement one before performing the upgrade.


    In a normal backup, many files aren’t backed up because the system is using them. Backing up the system in Safe Mode increases the number of files that are backed up because fewer are in use. Windows Server 2003 systems allow backing up open files using shadow copies, making a Safe Mode reboot unnecessary.

  7. Stop and disable third-party services that are using the Local System account. Open Services in the Administrative Tools folder, double-click third-party services that show Local System in the Log On As column, stop the service, write down the startup types so that you can restore the settings after the upgrade is complete, and then change the startup type to Disabled. Repeat until all third-party services are disabled. (There’s no easy way to identify third-party services—you’ll just have to read their names and descriptions.)

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Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Administrator's Companion
Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Administrators Companion (Pro-Administrators Companion)
ISBN: 0735620202
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 224

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