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  • Writer's pictureJJC Systems

Promote a Server to a Domain Controller

Objective: The objective of this Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is to outline the steps required to promote a server to a Domain Controller in an Active Directory environment. This procedure ensures the proper configuration and setup of a server to act as a Domain Controller for user and computer management.

Scope: This SOP applies to Windows Server operating systems, specifically versions 2016 and above.


1. A Windows Server installation meeting the minimum requirements for a Domain Controller.

2. Administrative access to the server.

3. A functional DNS infrastructure.

4. A static IP address assigned to the server.


1. Log in to the server using an account with administrative privileges.

2. Ensure that the server is connected to the network.

3. Verify that the server has a static IP address assigned to it. If not, configure a static IP address before proceeding.

4. Open the "Server Manager" by clicking on the corresponding icon in the taskbar or by searching for it in the Start menu.

5. In the Server Manager window, click on "Manage" from the top menu and select "Add Roles and Features."

6. The "Add Roles and Features Wizard" will open. Click "Next" to proceed.

7. Select "Role-based or feature-based installation" and click "Next".

8. Choose the appropriate server from the server pool and click "Next".

9. From the list of server roles, select"Active Directory Domain Services." A popup window will appear, informing you about the required features. Click "Add Features" and then click "Next."

10. Review the information about the "Active Directory Domain Service" role and click "Next."

11. In the "Features" section, click "Next" to accept the default selections.

12. On the "AD DS" page, read the information and click "Next."

13. Review the summary of the installation selections and click "Install" to begin the installation process.

14. Wait for the installation to complete. This may take several minutes.

15. After the installation is finished, click on"Promote this server to a domain controller" in the "Server Manager" window, or select "Promote this server to a domain controller" from the "Notification" flag in the upper-right corner.

16. The "Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard" will open. Select "Add a new forest" and enter the desired root domain name.

17. Choose the forest functional level and the domain functional level based on your requirements. Enter a Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) password.

18. Select the appropriate options for DNS delegation and NetBIOS name, based on your network configuration.

19. Click "Next" to proceed.

20. On the "Additional Options" page, review the default settings and make any necessary adjustments.

21. Specify the locations for the Active Directory database, log files, and SYSVOL folder, or accept the default values. Click "Next."

22. Review the summary of the configuration options and click "Next" to begin the installation.

23. The prerequisite check will be performed. Resolve any issues that arise before proceeding.

24. Click "Install" to promote the server to a Domain Controller.

25. Wait for the promotion process to complete. The server will automatically restart during this process.

26. After the server restarts, log in using domain administrator credentials to confirm successful promotion.

27. Perform post-promotion tasks, such as configuring additional Group Policies, creating

organizational units (OUs), and configuring user and computer accounts as necessary.

Note: It is essential to ensure that you have a proper backup and recovery strategy in place before proceeding with any changes to the Active Directory environment.

Conclusion: Following this SOP will allow you to promote a server to a Domain Controller, enabling centralized user and computer management in an Active Directory environment. By adhering to the provided steps, you can ensure a consistent and reliable setup of your Domain Controller.

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