Jorge's Quest For Knowledge!

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(2009-11-09) Migrating Your Local Users, Local Groups And Memberships From The SAM Into AD

Posted by Jorge on 2009-11-09

You may have a Windows Server somewhere that’s not joined to a joined that contains lots of local user accounts, local groups and of course memberships of local accounts in those local groups. On that server you have permissioned all NTFS permissions with those local groups. Another scenario is a member server with exact same information. Now you have decided you want to "migrate" all of that into AD. How would that be possible easily without loss of information?

REMARK: Before you do this, as a fallback plan, make sure to have a FULL backup of the server you want to perform this operation on!

The starting point would be something similar to the pictures below.

All Users


All Groups


All Group Memberships


In these pictures you see local users and local groups and those users are member of those local groups. The way to keep that all is to promote the server to a DC in a NEW AD domain. Because of that the information is kept and "migrated" into AD (into the ‘Users’ container). If you promoted the server into an existing AD domain, the information in the SAM would be lost.

In this example I’m promoting a member server in an AD domain into a new AD domain in the same AD forest. After promotion of the member server into a new AD domain in the existing AD forest, the end result is shown below.

Migrated Users and Groups


Migrated Group Memberships


Migrated User Properties


By doing it this way, you migrate the info into AD and when that has occurred you can use ADMT to migrate the objects into some other AD domain. The fun part is that in the second migration into another AD domain, you will not have issues regarding the membership rules when migration between AD domains in the same AD forest!

More specific information about the upgrade process can be found here.

* This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties and confers no rights!
* Always evaluate/test yourself before using/implementing this!
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