How to Transfer FSMO Schema Master Roles in Windows Server 2008 / 2008R2

So the other day I had this issue where I was installing Exchange 2010 on a server in a Domain with two sites. The site I was installing into had a local DC that was a Global Catalogue and all the rest but didn’t have the FSMO / Schema Master role. The local Server was a 2008 R2 server and the other site (which had the FSMO role) was a 2008 server. After scrounging around for some time trying to find the old schema master MMC I found a little trick to getting it to show up :).

Here goes. You will notice if you run MMC and try to add the Active Directory Schema Master snap in that it won’t be there! Say what! Microsoft why isn’t it there? in any case here is how to get it back.

1. We need to register the schmmgmt.dll file to get the Active Directory Schema Master snap in to shop up.
open a run window and type “regsvr32 schmmgmt.dll” see below.

2. Once this dll has been registered we need to get a MMC window up and add the snap in.
Open up a Run window again and type “mmc” and click ok. Then click File > Add/Remove Snap-in… as per the below image.

3. Add the now visible Active Directory Schema snap-in. As per the below image. Select the Active Directory Schema snap-in on the left and then click Add followed by Ok.

4. Next we need to Change Active Directory Domain Controller…
Do this by right clicking on Active Directory Schema [server name here] and selecting Change Active Directory Domain Controller… see image below for reference

We then need to ensure that we select the correct “look in this domain” domain in the drop down then click on the server you would like to become the Schema Master and click OK, then confirm the change of selected server.

5. Now we need to right click the Active Directory Schema again and this time select Operations Master…

Then we will see a window like the below one. Here we need to ensure that the bottom greyed out window has the name of the server we just connected to, which is the one that the schema master role will be transferred over to. Once you ensure this is the case you can click Change and approve the change. Once complete close out of this window and the MMC one and job is done :)

All in all not a painful process at all. But without this snap-in it is a head ache of powershell scripts that I myself haven’t bothered learning. And why would you hey for the rare occasions you might do it and the fact Microsoft included a hidden snap-in that all but does it for you.

Questions in the comments.



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