Migrate DNS from Windows 2003 to Windows 2008

I needed to move 50+ domains from a Windows 2003 DNS server to a newly requisitioned Windows 2008 Server. The following are instructions for moving all the domains at once.

Note: these steps would also work for migrating domains from 2003 to 2003 or 2008 to 2008.

Stop the DNS Server service on the destination server:

Use the Administrative Tools -> Services MMC snap-in, or run the following at the command prompt:

net stop "DNS SERVER"

Copy the DNS registry entries

On the source machine, use the registry editor (regedit) to browse to the following node:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DNS Server\Zones

Right click on the “Zones” node and choose “Export“. Save the export as a .reg file (e.g. DNS.reg).

Copy the DNS.reg file to the destination server and “Merge“.

Copy the DNS files

Copy the contents of the %SystemRoot%\System32\DNS folder from the source machine to the same folder on the destination machine. I received an permissions error while trying to transfer the “Samples” folder. It is not necessary to transfer the samples.

Set the DNS Load method

Using the Administrative Tools -> DNS MMC snap-in, on the “Advanced” tab, set the “Load zone data on startup:” to “From registry“. This tells the DNS server to load all zone data from the registry.

Start the “DNS Server” service on the destination server

Use the Administrative Tools -> Services MMC snap-in, or run the following at the command prompt:

net start "DNS SERVER"

Using the DNS MMC snap-in, you will now see all the domains listed on the destination server.

Comments

5 Responses to “Migrate DNS from Windows 2003 to Windows 2008”

  1. Confluence: Bayleaf - Systems Administration on June 11th, 2010 5:01 am

    <strong>DNS Export-Import Process from 2003 to 2008…</strong>

    Migrate DNS from Windows 2003 to Windows 2008…

  2. user1251 on October 11th, 2011 3:29 am

    Just a question, I have to migrate DNS on 2 2003 DCs to two newly provisioned 2008 DCs. I thought all I would have to do is make sure that they’re all AD-Integrated and then I’d be able to remove DNS from the 2003 boxes. Is that not the advised procedure?

  3. Bluetoft on October 13th, 2011 11:01 am

    Thanks… Its amazing how hard it was to find the missing key!

    Set the DNS Load method
    Using the Administrative Tools -> DNS MMC snap-in, on the “Advanced” tab, set the “Load zone data on startup:” to “From registry“. This tells the DNS server to load all zone data from the registry.

  4. Tyler Norris on October 24th, 2012 7:51 am

    Thanks, this worked great! One note though, you can’t set the DNS load method with the DNS server stopped. So that step should come right before initially stopping the DNS service on the destination server.

    None the less, this saved me a lot of time!

  5. alex on December 10th, 2013 5:37 am

    i am in the snap in but i am not seeing my advanced tab

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