Q

Proper server settings in Windows Server 2003

Windows hardening expert Jonathan Hassell sheds light on some settings in Windows Server 2003 that will allow for easier user access.

I have an HP ProLiant server working as my DNS/DHCP server, and I want to replace that machine with a more robust/better HP server. I configure the new machine to be a DNS & DHCP as well, but this time using Windows Server 2003. I know the two machines cannot be online at the same time because they have the same settings; IP, computer name, DNS,DHCP, but some user on my network could still not log on to this server. What could I do to solve this problem?
You can simply create the same settings on a new server that you had on an original server, particularly if you are the domain situation. Each user account has a unique security identifier, or SID, that uniquely identifies an account regardless of what the actual username or user's full name is. Since the SIDs don't match between your old and your new server, Windows doesn't know how to find the original user account and thus will allow your users to login. If you are in a domain, the easiest thing to do is promote the new server to be a domain controller and it will then receive a replicated copy of the Active Directory user account database. Once the replication is complete, which on a smaller domain will only take a few minutes, your user will then be able to login to any available server on the domain. You could then demote the old server from a domain controller to simply a member server, which would remove the active directory database, and then retire it.
This was first published in November 2006

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