Raising the Roof on Domain Functional Levels - Page 3

 By Drew Bird
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Raising the Domain Functional Level

The actual process of raising the domain functional level is straightforward. From within the Active Directory Domains and Trusts MMC snap-in, select the domain icon. Then, right-click and select Raise Domain Functional Level. As with anything else Windows related, the process becomes almost self-explanatory after this point.

If you are operating at the default domain functional level (Windows 2000 Mixed), your choices will be either Windows 2000 Native or Windows Server 2003. Once your selection is made, a warning will appear noting that if you raise the domain functional level it cannot then be subsequently lowered.

Aside from acknowledging this one warning and reading a message concerning replication, there is little else for you to do. Of course, it goes without saying that a full backup of the server, Active Directory, and anything else you can put to a tape should be performed before the domain functional level is raised, just in case.

You should also ensure that network connectivity between all domain controllers in the domain is operational. Although any domain controller that is not online for the initial replication will be updated when it comes back online, ideally you want all of the domain controllers in the domain to be raised at the same time.

Raising the Forest Functional Level

Like raising the domain functional level, raising the forest functional level is also straightforward. In Open Active Directory Domains and Trusts, right-click Active Directory Domains and Trusts at the very top of the left pane, and then click Raise Forest Functional Level from the menu. From the Select an Available Forest Functional Level drop-down box, click Windows Server 2003, and then click Raise. As with the process of raising the domain functional level, a warning appears informing you that the raising process cannot be reversed.

If all domain controllers have been raised to the appropriate domain functional level, the forest functional level raising will proceed. If there are domain controllers in the forest that are not at a sufficiently high domain functional level for the forest upgrade, a report is generated so that you know which ones you will need to work on.

Once the raising of the domain functional and forest functional level is complete, there is nothing else to do except take advantage of the new features that your raising efforts will have made available to you.

» See All Articles by Columnist Drew Bird

This article was originally published on Jan 13, 2004
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