Complete Windows 2003 Standard Fail over


OSNN Junior Addict
30 Jan 2006
I currently have one domain server running Windows 2003 Standard with the following roles

File Server
Print Server

I would like to have a Fail over server with the same exact roles. I would like one server to take control in the event of a failure on the other server, however i want the transition to be completely seemless to workstations.

Any guidance into the right direction would be greatly appreciated.


Woah.. I'm still here?
Political Access
26 Apr 2004
For the DC, it would be easiest to just bring up the second server as another domain controller. For the most part, that is all you'll need in a pinch to continue to authenticate logins. You will have issues long term with the FSMO roles if the other DC contains those roles and does not come back up.

DHCP failover isn't possible in the traditional sense. You can split your scope and have each server hand out half the addresses in the scope. That's probably as near as you're going to get with having a redundant DHCP server.

If you are using AD integrated DNS, set your DHCP scopes to include both servers as DNS servers. In the event of a server failure, the clients should automatically start directing queries to the other DNS server

Straight File server failover is a problem - no true failover for standard shares. One alternative would be to look at setting up a DFS root and replicate the data using DFS replication and have the users connect to the DFS share. This may not be seamless if the user has an open file on the share at the time of a server failure.

Print server failover isn't really possible in the sense of what you want. You could use print server cluster but that requires the enterprise version. You can look at this thread for some insight into how to maybe get started in looking for alternatives. You could also setup print queues on both servers to connect to the same printer and connect each client to the printer share on both servers. This way, at least if a server fails, they can manually choose the printer share on the 2nd server.


Awesome is as awesome does.
Political Access
5 Apr 2002
It would get really expensive, but Clustering would work. You would need identical hardware, a MSA or similar, and two licenses of Windows Server Enterprise.

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