Windows Tip Sheet

The New and Improved Adprep

Rest easy when migrating from Win2K to Win2003 with an upgraded Adprep.exe.

Adprep.exe is a nifty tool included with Win2003 that prepares a Win2K domain for upgrading to Win2003. Essentially, you run Adprep before installing your first Win2003 domain controller, and all’s well.

Or is it? Adprep takes some serious steps. You have to run adprep /forestprep on your existing schema master, and then run adprep /domainprep on each infrastructure master in each domain in your forest. The domainprep bit locks down the security on all GPOs currently in your domain. Changing the security on the GPOs forces the File Replication Service (FRS) to re-replicate those GPOs to all domain controllers, ensuring they all have a consistently configured version of the GPOs.

If you have a zillion GPOs, you can plan on sitting back and relaxing while the FRS tries to catch up. If you’re like one customer of mine, things may never catch up: They had too many domain controllers on the other side of slow WAN links, and the file copy of six dozen GPOs (I’m not kidding) could never complete successfully. Oops.

Microsoft to the rescue with Win2003 SP1! More specifically, an enhanced version of Adprep that’s available now as a hotfix. The new version forgoes the permissions change as part of the domainprep operation, allowing you to get your domain ready for Win2003 without all the FRS action having to take place. When you’re ready, you can run adprep /domainprep /gpprep to slap on the new permissions. By the way, you don’t want to skip this step, because it’s necessary for the Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) feature to deal with site-based GPOs. This enhancement just lets you decide when the FRS frenzy will occur, allowing you to perform this step during off-hours, if desired.

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About the Author

Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is Curriculum Director for IT Pro Content for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at

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