How can I manually move DNS Zone Files from one server to another?

Question: How can I move DNS Zone Files from one server to another?

To move DNS zone files from one server to another, follow these steps:

Note: To use the following method, the Windows 2003 DNS Server service must be installed on a new Windows 2003-based server. The DNS Server service should not be configured yet.

  1. On the DNS server that is currently hosting the DNS zone(s), change any Active Directory-integrated zones to standard primary. This action creates the zone files that are needed for the destination DNS server.
  2. Stop the DNS Server service on both DNS servers.
  3. Manually copy the entire contents (subfolders included) of the %SystemRoot%\System32\DNS folder from the source server to the destination server. On the current DNS server, start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).                       
  4. Locate and click the following registry sub key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\DNS Server\Zones
  5. Export the Zones entry to a registry file.
  6. On the destination DNS server, double-click each registry file to import the Zones subkeys into the registry.
  7. Bring the current DNS server down and transfer its IP address to the destination DNS server.
  8. On the destination DNS server, start the DNS Server service. To initiate the registration of the server's A and PTR resource records, run the following command at a command prompt:  ipconfig /registerdns
  9. If this server is also a domain controller, stop and restart the Net Logon service to register the Service (SRV) records, or run the following command at a command prompt:  netdiag /fix
  10. The standard zones that were previously Active Directory-integrated can be converted back to Active Directory-integrated on the replacement DNS server if it is a domain controller.
  11. Verify that the SOA resource records on each zone contains the correct name for the primary server and that the NS resource records for the zone(s) are correct.

Note: The steps outlined in this article do not migrate the following DNS server settings: 

  • Interfaces
  • Forwarders 
  • Advanced
  • Root Hints 
  • Logging
  • Security
  • Any specific registry setting made under any keys other than the key that is specified in step 5 and step 7.