Migrating Azure AD Connect to a new server

Azure AD Connect (AAD Connect) is a tool used to synchronize your Active Directory account with the cloud. This is useful when organizations are adopting the cloud environment with solutions such as the Microsoft 365 package. Organizations can now have Azure AD Connect installed on the on-premises server. 

Organizations may need to update their servers for reasons ranging from updating the infrastructure to changing the operating system. In this scenario, it may be necessary to replace the existing server with a new one and the Azure AD Connect tool must also be migrated. 

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Let's take a look at the steps required to migrate Azure AD Connect to a new server:

Configure Azure AD Connect on the new server

Before starting the installation, make sure that the new server is joined to the AD domain and has a static IP address.

  1. Download the latest version of the AADConnect instance on the new server and start the installation.
  2. As you will need the same configuration as the AADConnect instance on the old server, choose 'Customize' in the Express Configuration dialog.
  3. Select the necessary components to be installed and configure the input options before connecting to Azure AD with global administrator credentials.
  4. Add Active Directory credentials with Enterprise Admin.
  5. Select the organizational units (OU) and domains to be synchronized and their users and devices.
  6. Select the required optional features.
  7. Enter the domain administrator credentials to enable SSO.
  8. Click the checkbox to activate preparation mode when you are ready to configure.
  9. Click Exit when the installation of the AAD Connect tool is complete.

Prepare your old server with Azure AD Connect

The Active Directory forest on the old server must stop synchronizing with Azure before you can migrate Azure AD Connect to the new server.

  1. Start the AAD Connect tool on the old server and navigate to Configure.
  2. Select the Configure Staging mode option in tasks.
  3. Enter the Azure AD global administrator credentials and select the Enable staging mode option in the next dialog.
  4. In the Configure dialog box, uncheck the option Start the synchronization process when the configuration is complete and click Configure.
  5. Exit the wizard and close the Azure AD Connect tool on the old server.

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Enable Active Directory synchronization on the new server

The new server should now be able to synchronize changes with Azure AD. Consequently, the preparation mode must be disabled in it.

  1. Start the AAD Connect tool and click Configure.
  2. Select Set up preparation mode in the Tasks dialog box.
  3. Enter the Azure AD global administrator credentials and deselect the Enable staging mode option in the Staging mode dialog.
  4. Click Next and check the option Start the synchronization process when the configuration is complete before selecting Configure.

Uninstall AAD Connect on the old server

After Active Directory is synchronized with Azure AD, the AAD Connect tool can be uninstalled from the old server.

  1. Navigate to Programs> Uninstall a program in the Control Panel.
  2. Select Microsoft Azure AD Connect from the list and click Uninstall.
  3. After the Azure AD Connect application opens, uninstall the supporting components as well by clicking Remove.
  4. Exit the Azure AD Connect tool to complete the process.

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Felipe Santos
Felipe Santos is a Cloud and Security Architect, with experience in Windows Server, Cluster, Storages, Backups Veeam and Office 365 environments.
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