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

Published Oct 31 2018 10:03 PM 274K Views

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



Certain situations, such as server crash or failure of the DCPROMO option, require manual removal of the DC from the system by cleaning up the servers metadata. The following detailed steps will help you accomplish this:

Step 1: Removing 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 Controllers 

  3. Right click on the Domain Controller you need to manually remove and click Delete



  4. Click Yes to confirm within the Active Directory Domain Services dialog box


  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 Delete 



  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: Removing 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 on the server you which to remove and click Delete 



  4. Click Yes to confirm



Step 3: Remove metadata via ntdsutil 

  1. Right Click on Start > Command Prompt (admin)
  2. Type ntdsutil and enter 


  3. You are then presented with the metadata cleanup prompt

  4. Next type remove selected server <servername>
    NOTE: Replace <servername> with domain Controller server you wish to remove


  5. Click Yes to proceed when presented with the warning window 


  6. Execute the quit command twice to exit out of the console

NOTE: This post was originally posted on CANITPRO.NET and was co-authored by Microsoft MVP Dishan Francis

Occasional Visitor

Good day,

The steps to perform the deletion of a server were followed to the letter and did not work.
It must have started from step 2, Sites and services of the active directory, unprotecting the connections to the other servers, then unprotecting the server and finally eliminating the server, being automatically removed from Users and computers in the active directory.
And then you go to step 3 with the ndsutil command and you do not see it anymore, so it does not do anything.
Therefore, I request that this manual be rectified.

Thank you


Curious @Engineer80. What version of server are you attempting to remove?

Frequent Visitor

Step three was not required for me, either. The DCs I was removing were 2008 R2, and I was removing them via a 2012 DC. I got the error: 


(The object name has bad syntax.) Unable to determine the domain hosted by the Active Directory Domain Controller (5). Please use the connection menu to specify it.

Regardless, it seems to have all been successful as far as I can tell (is there a way to verify metadata was successfully removed?).  I followed the steps and the removed DCs were not in the list when I executed "list servers in site" so I think it's fine. I subsequently ran the AD Replication Status Tool and the servers were also nowhere to be found. 


Occasional Visitor

Just to note, the steps to run ntdsutil in this guide seem to be truncated.


However, I had the same issue noted above. When it came time to select the DC for metadata cleanup, it was already gone after removing the server from AD Users and Computers and AD Sites and Services. Is there another way to verify full metadata removal?




When you use Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) or the Active Directory Users and Computers console (Dsa.msc) that is included with Windows Server to delete a domain controller computer account from the Domain Controllers organizational unit (OU), the cleanup of server metadata is performed automatically. Before Windows Server 2008, you had to perform a separate metadata cleanup procedure.

Occasional Visitor

I think this info is a little obsolete.the cleanup of server metadata is performed automatically as mentioned above.

Occasional Visitor

Yes I confirm the observations of the respondents here:  After removing the server from ADUC and ADS&S the ntdsutil step is not needed.  It was probably from the Windows 2000/2003 days.


ntdsutil: metadata cleanup
metadata cleanup: remove selected server DC2
Binding to localhost ...
Connected to localhost using credentials of locally logged on user.
LDAP error 0x22(34 (Invalid DN Syntax).
Ldap extended error message is 0000208F: NameErr: DSID-031001F7, problem 2006 (BAD_NAME), data 8350, best match of:'CN=Ntds Settings,DC2'

Win32 error returned is 0x208f(The object name has bad syntax.)
Unable to determine the domain hosted by the Active Directory Domain Controller
(5). Please use the connection menu to specify it.
metadata cleanup:

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Last update:
‎May 21 2019 04:40 AM
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