Monday, 26 April 2010

Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Domain Rename

Scenario: I have a single Windows Server 2003 Domain Controller with a domain DCTEST.PRIV, and I want to rename this DC.PRIV. I have a Windows Server 2003 Member Server that I can use as the control station for performing the domain rename process.


1: Google “Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Domain Rename Tools” and download domainrename.exe onto your member server. Double-click the exe → Run → Welcome to the Domain Rename Tools Version 1.4 Setup Wizard – Next > → I Agree → Finish

2: In Active Directory Domains and Trusts (domain.msc,) Raise Domain Functional Level to Windows Server 2003 (if not already,) Raise Forest Functional Level to Windows Server 2003 (if not already.)

3: On the control station, switch to the RenameTools directory ( C:\Program Files\Microsoft Domain Rename Tools ,) and type the following command: rendom /list

4: Enter copy domainlist.xml domainlist-save.xml to save the forest description file

5: Modify domainlist.xml changing entries for the existing domain name to the new domain name, and save the changes

6: Type the following command: rendom /upload

7: Type the following command: rendom /prepare

8: Type the following command: rendom /execute

After you run the execute command, your domain controllers, member servers, client computers, will all automatically reboot and when they are back up they will be on the changed domain name << very cool >>

9: Reboot the control station twice

10: On the control station, switch to the RenameTools directory, and type the following command: rendom /end

11: (Update courtesy of HaPi) Run "gpfixup.exe /olddns:DCTEST.PRIV /newdns:DC.PRIV" to update Group Policy Objects.

And that is it!


Author: V. Cosonok


My walkthrough is very simplistic – from simple beginnings complex things are built. For much more detail I would highly recommend reading . Below are a few essential notes:

The Requirements and Consequences of Domain Renaming

Before you can use Rendom.exe to perform any domain renaming tasks, you have to ensure the following:

The domain controllers must be running Windows Server 2003
The forest functional level must be raised to the Windows Server 2003 forest functional level.
You need Enterprise Administrator privileges to perform any domain renaming tasks.
You have to use a member server to carry out domain renaming tasks - you cannot use a domain controller. The member server becomes your control station for performing the domain rename process.
Domain DFS root servers must be running Windows 2000 - SP3 or above
Exchange 2000 must not be installed in the domain.

A few factors on the domain rename process should be kept in mind.

These are noted below:

The entire forest is unavailable during the domain rename process.
If a domain controller(s) cannot be reached, or does not participate in, or finish the domain rename process, you have to remove the domain controller from the forest in order for the process to be finalized.
Because some changes are not replicated, and external trust relationships no longer exists, you would have to examine each one of your domain controllers.
The DNS host names of the domain controllers are not automatically changed by the Active Directory domain rename feature. This creates the need for you to carry out the domain controller rename process on your domain controllers individually.
Although the DNS suffix of your member servers and client workstations will be updated, it might not be instantaneously.
Once the domain controllers are rebooted, each client workstation running Windows 2000 or Windows XP has to be rebooted twice.


  1. Thank you SO much. I ran the tool 20 times and nothing happened. No where did they document the next steps like you were so kind as to detail!!

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  2. Hello Anonymous, thank you for the comment. Cheers!

  3. 11. It is necessary to start "gpfixup.exe /olddns:DCTEST.PRIV /newdns:DC.PRIV" to update Group Policy Object!

    All Done!

    1. Thank you very much HaPi. I've added your comment as an update to the post. Cheers!

  4. Great instructions. I have a question as to why it can't be done on a DC. I've done it twice on SBS servers and once on a single server non-SBS domain with no issues. does anyone know why MS says it can't be done on a DC? just curious....

  5. thax for your instruction but my dns is not change so how can i my dns rename

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