Step-By-Step: Removing A Domain Controller Server Manually


The proper way to remove a DC server in an Active Directory infrastructure is to run DCPROMO and remove it. The following video provides an example of these steps:

There are certain situations however, such as server crash or failure of DCPROMO option, that would require a manual removal of the DC from the system by cleaning up the servers metadata as detailed in the following steps:

Step 1: Cleaning up metadata via Active Directory Users and Computers

  1. Log in to DC server as Domain/Enterprise administrator and navigate to Server Manager > Tools > Active Directory Users and Computers
  2. Expand the Domain > Domain Controllersmeta1
  3. Right click on the DC server that need to remove manually and click deletemeta2
  4. In next dialog box, click yes to confirmmeta3
  5. In next dialog box, select This Domain Controller is permanently offline and can no longer be demoted using the Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard (DCPROMO) and click Deletemeta4
  6. If the domain controller is global catalog server, in next window click yes to continue with deletion
  7. If the domain controller holds any FSMO roles in next window, click ok to move them to the domain controller which is available

Step 2: Cleaning up the DC server instance from the Active Directory Sites and Services

  1. Go to Server manager > Tools > Active Directory Sites and Services
  2. Expand the Sites and go to the server which need to remove
  3. Right click and click Deletemeta5
  4. In next window click yes to confirmmeta6

Step 3: Clean up metadata using ntdsutil

NOTE: Windows Server 2003 or earlier used ntdsutil and was bit of challenge but this was later simplified

  1. Right Click on Start > Command Prompt (admin)
  2. Type ntdsutil and entermeta7
  3. Then metadata cleanupmeta8
  4. Next type remove selected server <servername>, replace <servername> with DC server to removemeta9
  5. In warning window click yes to proceed
  6. Execute quit command twice
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