SBS 2003 Transition Pack


Today, I'll be talking about Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 Transition Pack which allows you to smoothly migrate to full blown version of windows server products.

As your business grows, you may feel the need for change and at the same time want to protect and preserve what you already possess. By installing the SBS 2003 transition pack; you can upgrade your SBS 2003 to a full blown Windows Server 2003 Std. edition, with std. version of server applications like Exchange, ISA and SQL.


Things you can achieve after installing the transition pack

You can achieve the following task after installing the SBS 2003 transition pack, which otherwise is not possible in SBS 2003 because of product design limitation.

- Transfer the Flexible Single Master Operations (FSMO) roles to another domain controller

- Establish two-way trust relationship with another Domain

- Add child domains to the existing AD forest

- Move server applications to another server (for e.g. You can move Exchange Server 2003 to another server for better performance)

- Enable Terminal Server in Application Sharing mode

- Remove the 75 users/device limit

- Increase the max number of processors supported from two to four



After you have migrated your server by installing the SBS 2003 Transition Pack, you will still be able to use the Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 tools; however, they will no longer be supported and you will not be able to reinstall or remove the tools. Additionally, you will no longer be able to run Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Setup to modify (add, remove, re-install) the server applications.

After you migrate to Windows Server 2003 R2, Standard Edition, you must reinstall your existing Windows Server 2003 service packs. In addition, you should record the current built-in Administrator account password for reference because the Directory Services Restore Mode password will no longer be synchronized with the built-in Administrator account password.


Checklist before installing the Transition Pack

Make sure you have ordered for the fulfillment media for the standard versions of applications (This media is required if you want to move applications to a new server and will also help for system recovery) before you install the SBS 2003 transition pack.

Additional information could be found on this link


What happens after you apply the transition pack

The following snapshots would help you understand the difference between SBS 2003 and Windows Server 2003 (the way SBS 2003 looks after a successful installation of Transition Pack).


Before the Transition Pack After the Transition Pack
This is the first difference you would notice after a successful installation of SBS 2003 Transition Pack. The SBS 2003 logon screen is replaced by the Windows Server 2003 logon screen.
Diff11 Diff1
WINVER clearly shows the difference between SBS 2003 and Windows Server 2003 Std. Though the build number, service pack details are still the same.
Diff22 Diff2
The product ID (PID) for SBS 2003 is changed to a Windows Server 2003 PID. The SBS 2003 PID starts with 74995. The Windows Server 2003 PID typically starts with 69712.
Diff33 Diff3
If you double-click the Licensing icon in control panel, this is how it looks before the transition pack. You use the Server Management console to install licenses on SBS 2003. After a successful transition, you should be able to add additional licenses for std. line of server products like Windows, Exchange from Control Panel.
Diff44 Diff4
Terminal Server in Application Sharing mode is unavailable in SBS 2003. You cannot have more than 2 concurrent connections to the server. After the transition pack, you have the option of running Terminal Server in Application Sharing mode.
Diff55 Diff5
The option to "Manage your server" is not there on SBS 2003. After a successful transition from SBS 2003 to Windows Server 2003, you get an option to "Manage your server" under Administrative Tools.
Diff66 Diff6

Issues you may run into after or during the installation of transition pack

Scenario 1:

If you running Veritas Backup Exec program on the server, the Transition Pack installation may fail silently

Resolution: Look for the registry key Small Business (under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\). If the key exists, delete it after taking a backup of it.

For more info:

Scenario 2:

Server stuck in an activation look after installing SBS 2003 Transition Pack. This issue typically occurs if you running IE 7.0

Resolution: Boot the server in Safe Mode. Uninstall IE 7.0 by executing the following command from the Run dialog box


For more info:

Scenario 3:

Service pack mismatch problem. You may get an error stating that the installed version of the product is newer than the current installation.

Resolution: You want to make sure that the service pack matches before starting up the process. If you running Windows Server 2003 SP2, uninstall it before installing the transition pack. Additionally,  make sure that you are using the SBS 2003 with SP1 Transition Pack media.

For more info:;


Kinds of Transition Pack

Like SBS 2003, transition pack comes in 2 variants, SBS 2003 Transition Pack and SBS 2003 R2 Transition Pack.

The SBS 2003 Transition Pack includes 1 disc which allows you to convert SBS 2003 to a full blown std. version of Windows Server 2003

The SBS 2003 R2 Transition Pack includes 2 discs. The first disc is the same as above which allows you to convert SBS 2003 to a full blown std. version of Windows Server 2003. The second disc is the Windows Server 2003 R2 disc and has features like DFS-R.

Don't forget to read my second post on Transition Pack.

What to do if SBS 2003 is not fully transitioned?


Additional Resource



Moloy Tandon

Comments (28)
  1. moloyt says:

    Yes, its possible.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have a small buisiness server installed i want to backup Active Directory from it and restore it on a server running Enterprise edition.Is it possible please try to email me or post it here with all the steps required.

    please please

  3. Anonymous says:

    In my previous post about the Transition Pack , we talked about the Transition Pack and the changes it

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can I join the another DC (Windows 2008 R2) to SBS2003 DC (domain) and transfer theFSMO roles to Windows 2008 R2 DC?Not need the Transition Pack?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is there at transition pack specifically for migrating to Enterprise?  Or, must you first migrate to std edition then upgrade the installation to enterprise?  I was going too do a fresh install on new hardware supporting dual quad core Intel + 8 GB RAM with enterprise version with Exchange 2007 and then migrate AD and mailboxes seperately…any white papers on this scenario..or close?

  6. Great info, saved me during a migration from SBS 2003 which had been transitioned to Standard  to SBS 2011. Thanks

  7. moloyt says:

    Please refer to Scenario 1 – Method 2 of the KB 940194 for the resolution.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Can I join the another DC (Windows 2008 R2) to SBS2003 DC (domain) and transfer theFSMO roles to Windows 2008 R2 DC?Not need the Transition Pack?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Moloy Tandon’s Blog – Ask Me : SBS 2003 Transition Pack

  10. Anonymous says:

    After applying the transition pack. We lost client access to the companyweb.  Have not been able to figure out how to get it back.

  11. Steve says:

    Has anyone got any good migration plans (preferably more specific, less "big-picture" as I am not a wonderful exchange/isa/sql guru) after the transition pack has been applied for Exchange/ISA/SQL from SBS 2003 Premium to be migrated to seperate windows 2003 boxes please?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions/pointers.

  12. Bill Jamms says:

    So, after backing up the registry key in scenario 1 and deleting it, the upgrade should run fine. Once the upgrade runs, is it ok to put the key back?? Thanks!

  13. Tad Sendzimir says:

    I would like to move Exchange Server and ISA 2004 to a seperate server and keep everything else on the old SBS (Now 2003 R2) server.

    I assume that the Exchange Server would have the 2 NIC cards with the WAN and LAN cards and the ISA 2004 to filter at the source.  The last operation would be the exchange server.

    Would anyone wish to comment to this arrangement?  I thank you in advance and am glad I fould this site.  There appears to be precious little info on transitioning from SBS to regular WIN 2003.

    thanks,  Tad Sendzimir

  14. Zahar says:

    Is it possible the following migration scheme:

    SBS 2003 STD -> 2003 STD -> 2003 ENT


  15. Travis Risner says:

    I am applying the SBS R2 Transition Pack.  I am wary of the process, as I have never applied a transition pack before.  Will all data remain the same (users, emails, etc) after applying the transition pack?

    Also, I’m looking to migrate Exchange to it’s own server during the transition.  Do I need to set it up on the new server then migrate the data, or is there a step for the migration during the transition pack installation?

  16. moloy says:

    @eyoel getachew

    Restoring the system state backup on a different hardware is not supported.

    Your options are:

    1.) Use the ADMT tool to migrate from SBS 2003 to Ent. edition of Windows Server 2003.

    2.) Use the transition pack to convert SBS 2003 in a full blown Windows 2003 Server Std, Exchange Std, etc. and then upgrade it to the Ent. edition of Windows Server 2003.

    3.) Join the Ent. edition to the existing SBS 2003 AD domain and then migrate all the data across.



  17. Ben says:

    Thanks for the info. I would like to move Exchange to a seperate server. Should I install Exchange on that particular server before applying the transition pack? Is the exchange media on the transition pack disc or could I install it from the original SBS disc set?

  18. Jason says:

    Hi there, can you please advise what are the differences between these 2 packs? I got a SBS 2003 Premium (non-R2), am looking at transitioning it to Win 2003.



  19. JOHN GARDNER says:

    Thanks for an excellent post/blog  – yours was the only post that gave me the confidence that the transition had worked – we followed the MS advice to the letter after fighting for months with suppliers who had no clue as to what the pitfalls were and or what transition pack we actually needed. Your blog is simple and to the point. Only question I would ask is where do we install the license keys for the 70 users we purchased with the transition pack inSBS it was simple now I cannot see anywhere to do it! Don’t tell me we just add users in the control panel licensing facility like in the good old NT days?

  20. tomw says:

    We have a windows 2003 SBS server which is a bit old.

    we purchased few new server hardwares alone with the Windows 2008 STD server/CAL licenses and also Exchange 2007 licenses.

    Is it possible to add these new servers to the existing domain and demote the Windows 2003 SBS server from the server roles without purchasing the transition pack?

    Windows 2008 Standard came pre-intalled with these new hardware and we don’t want to pay again for the transition pack.


  21. Charles Chiu says:

    We have a fully transitioned 2003 std server. We recently bought new server hardware and want to replace the old hardware. Can I use the same product key to install on the new hardware?

  22. james says:

    I am trying to Install the Transition Pack but it won’t start the install.  It says I must have SP1 installed first.  I have SP2 installed.  The problem is that I can’t uninstall SP2.  Add/Remove programs shows SP2 but no option to uninstall.  The $NTServicePackUninstall$ folder is missing from C:Windows.  

    Any suggestions on how to proceed?

  23. GoGoNET says:

    We have a second DC installed. Have i to demote the second one or can i run the setup without any changes ?

  24. MTT says:

    Dear Moloy,

    In your article you mentioned about Things you can achieve after installing the transition pack and  mentioned that it  not possible to move the roles to an ADC without the TP in SBS 2003 because of product design limitation.

    We got a problem with a customer who is running SBS 2003. Now we installed an Additional DC and I was able to move the roles to this ADC.

    Can you explain Why you wrote like this , that its not possible to move the roles without installing the TP.



  25. Kris says:

    We bought a 5 pack of licenses and expected 2 discs to come with it. We only received the license paper and no discs from the retailer. How can I get the 2 transition pack discs? Please give me an idea on this. Thanks! regards,


  26. Chris says:


    I'm just now getting the the SBS 2003 R2 transition pack.  I've been hesitant because the Transition Pack CAL Licenses I purchased don't seem to have a code or key in order to enter them.  Is this normal?   Is the Transition pack license just a piece of paper with no associated code to enter?  Or have I received a fraudulent merchandise?   I'm afraid to go through the upgrade then not be able to add CALS.  Any help would be very appreciated.

  27. Hengky says:


    How do I get this Windows Server SBS 2003 transition pack? Is it downloadable for free or is it some kind of a media kit that I should buy?

    I have 2 of this Windows SBS. One already installed as a domain controller, but when I installed the other one and have it join the domain it goes shutdown after 5 minutes. Is this because of the limitations?

    And how do I get the best of it? I mean so that I can use the majority of Windows Server SBS while I could still have my domain. Thank's.

  28. moloy says:


    I am glad you found the post helpful 🙂


    SBS 2003 Transition Pack have been discontinued. If you are lucky, you may find it thru some retail channels like, etc.

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