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Can I migrate domains without affecting user permission on files?

We have two Windows NT 4 domain controllers at two different sites. These sites are connected to Mbps dedicated link. Each domain has PDC and BDC and serves as file servers, DHCP and WINS server. The servers have old hardware and can't be upgraded to Windows 2003. I want to restructure two domains and make it a single domain. We received two new servers for this purpose -- one server each at two locations (Domain Controller + Additional DC structure). How can I merge two Windows NT domains into one single Windows 2003 domain without effecting user permission on files? Which is good path, migration or upgrade?
First, download the "Migrating from Windows NT 4.0 to Window server 2003" white paper from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e92cf6a0-76f0-4e25-8de0-19544062a6e6&displaylang=en. Then get the Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) from: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=788975b1-5849-4707-9817-8c9773c25c6c&DisplayLang=en. The tool can be used to migrate and consolidate NT domains. The process is not that difficult, but you will want to plan and provide yourself with a way to back out and start again should things go wrong. Don't forget to make backups, and follow the plan you map out after studying the migration paper and other documents it may suggest to you.

This was first published in February 2004

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