How to install Active Directory on a Windows Server 2003

I was thinking to write something on Windows Server 2008 until now when a friend of mine called me and asked on how to install Active Directory on Windows Server 2003.

Well, before I begin let’s make a list on what you should have before you start installing Active Directory on a Windows Server 2003 computer.

  • You should have Installed Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003R2 on a NTFS partition and of course the partition should have enough free space.
  • The computer should be connected to a network
  •  You should have an idea about the Domain name you are going to assign
  • The Windows Server 2003 CD or Media kit

Once you finish installing the Windows Server 2003 Operating system on your server computer (a default installation), configure your computer with the necessary IP configurations and assign that computers IP address as the DNS server IP Address as we will be installing the DNS server on the same computer.

 Once you have all these things setup, then you can start installing Active Directory to promote the computer as a domain controller.

Installing Active Directory

  • Run -> dcpromo.exe
  • Welcome Screen -> Click Next
  • Operating System Compatibility Screen -> Click Next
  • Domain Controller Type Screen -> Select Domain controller for a new domain (first option) -> Next
  • Type of Domain to be created -> Select the first option Domain in a New Forest -> Next
  • New Domain Name -> type the domain name (we will be using DEMO.LOCAL) -> Next
  • NetBIOS Domain Name -> it will have a name by default or you can type a name (maximum 15 characters) here i will take DEMO as the name -> Next
  • Location for the Active Directory Database & Log files -> browse and change or keep the default (here its default) -> Next
  • Shared System Volume Location -> Browse and change or keep default (here its default) -> Next
  • The Wizard will try to find a DNS server and display failure screen (since there are no DNS available) and give you three options. Select the second option which is Install and Configure DNS on this computer (default)    -> Next
  • Permissions Screen -> Two Options (select the second option which is the default or select according to your requirement) -> Next
  • Directory Services Restore Mode Administrator Password -> type a password and confirm password -> Next
  • Summary screen -> Verify -> Next
  • Active Directory Installation Starts
  • In the midst of the Active Directory installation DNS installation will start automatically and if your server is on dynamic IP it will prompt you to assign a static IP.
  • And finally when its done you will get the finish screen and upon clicking the finish button you will have to restart the computer.


Remember, If you have an existing forest with a Windows Server 2000, or 2003 Root Domain controller and if you are trying to promote a Windows Server 2003R2 as a Child Domain Controller, It will give you an error asking you to run the Adprep.exe Command line tool on the parent domain and modify the schema. For more information regarding this error please visit


The screen shots are below 🙂

3 thoughts on “How to install Active Directory on a Windows Server 2003

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