Move SharePoint to a new domain

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Last week my company was taking on a new client. As part of the exercise the client’s domain was migrated to our own domain forest. This also meant the client’s existing SharePoint (WSS 3.0) installation needed to be moved to our domain.

Surprisingly, the SharePoint migration went really smoothly and was actually very straightforward.


1) Build new (target) server, install WSS, configure a web application and a site collection.

2) Update the existing old server so that SharePoint versions are exactly the same on both the old and new servers (the old server had never been updated and actually run version – which is the original RTM release of WSS 3.0!). This is to ensure you can use the old content database in the new farm.

3) Back up the existing farm.
It was a very simple 1-server installation running in MS Virtual Server so backing up was simply a case of making a copy of the virtual hard drive.

4) On the old server take the content database offline (in MS SQL Management Studio).

5) Copy the content database and associated log file onto the target server (new SharePoint install). Make sure you place the database and log files in the same location as on the old server – the paths need to match (e.g. D:\Data\SharepointDBs\).

6) On the target server attach the copied database in SQL Management Studio.

7) Still in SQL Management Studio add service accounts used in the new SharePoint farm to the newly attached database (database>security>users). The new farm service accounts need to have permissions to the old content database.

8) On the target server remove existing content database (Central Administration>Application Management>Web Application Management>Content Databases).

9) Once the database has been removed add the content database copied from the old server (Add a content database button).

10) Once the database was added I opened my browser, navigated to the new site – and voila! The browser displayed the old content on my new server. Perfect! All settings have been migrated fine (e.g. incoming email settings on document libraries, alerts, permissions on lists and sites etc.).

11) The last step was migrating users from old to new domain using stsadm –o migrateuser. This is to ensure information such as “Created By”, “Modified By”, any “My items” views etc. are preserved.

So there you go – the entire process took me less than 2 hours, the majority of which was spent migrating users.

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2 Responses

  1. Hello:

    When you migrated the users using the command above, were users able to login with their current password? I am in the same boat as you. Your instructions are written very good.


    • Yes, as long as your WSS uses Windows Integrated Authentication users will be able to use their existing passwords. Good luck!

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