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Top 2 Ways to Move User from One Domain to Another in Same Forest

Published By Aldrich Calvin
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On January 30th, 2024

Summary: There are different situations in which you need to move user from one domain to another in same forest such as domain discontinuity and many more. But the problem is how to do this task. So, go with the article and find the different ways to migrate user account from one domain to another efficiently.

User Query: I have two domains in a single forest. But now I want to retire one of them and need to move all the users into the new domain. Can anyone suggest an efficient tool for a seamless migration?

When there is a situation in which you need to move user from one domain to another then you have to be prepared for certain things such as the backup of data. Because always having a backup of crucial data before moving to another platform is a best practice. But, before deep diving into the solutions let’s know the Forest in detail.

Table Of Content

An Overview of Forest in Active Directory

Active Directory forest is known as the highest level of Organization. It is used for managing and controlling authentication in the Organization. The group policy settings can be used at the levels of the Active Directory due to which the data security increased.

Forests can be constructed in several models such as the Organizational, Resource, and Restricted access forest models. The Organization forest model creates only a single Active Directory for all the resources. In the Resource forest model, user accounts are created within the Organizational forest. The Restricted forest uses different forests without a trust relationship. 

After analyzing the role of Forest in Active Directory it’s time to know the methods to migrate users from one domain to another in the existing forest.

Method 1. Microsoft ADMT Tool 

Microsoft offers an ADMT (Active Directory Migration tool) to migrate user account from one domain to another in same forest. There is no method to migrate the users using PowerShell. But you can migrate computers from one domain to another with PowerShell. You need to follow some steps for the domain migration.

  • Step 1. Download the ADMT tool and run it on the computer. Log in as per the credentials.
  • Step 2. Open the ADMT and select the Action then User account migration wizard and hit Next.
  • Step 3. Select both Source and destination domains.
  • Step 4. Now it’s time to add the users and hit OK.
  • Step 5. Select the Organizational Unit as target and Next.
  • Step 6. Now it’s time to select the “Do No Migrate Source Object if a conflict is detected in the domain” in the conflict dialog box and Next.
  • Step 7. After the migration verify all the users.


  • Need SQL server to store the data.
  • Not able to migrate trustless inter-forest objects.
  • It requires native permissions before running.
  • Because of the absence of a graphical display, you are not able to track the process.
  • Not able to migrate AD objects without ADMT SID history.

Also Read: What is Active Directory Cross Forest Migration?

Method 2. Expert’s Recommended Professional Method

As per the limitations of the manual methods to move user from one domain to another in same forest. The expert recommends the Active Directory migration tool to migrate the users. This tool is easy to operate and requires so much technical knowledge. It requires only the drag and drop operations. You can migrate the users, groups, printers, and many more objects with it.

The passwords are also migrated with the users. This tool generates a complete report after the completion of the process to verify all the executed steps.  There can be the challenges occurs to perform migration but you can use the Active Directory migration checklist to overcome the challenges. Some of the prerequisites that you have to take care.

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  • Requires the Microsoft .NET version 4.6.1 or later.
  • DNS settings should be applied to all DCs.
  • Requires the Trust Relationship.
  • A DNS suffix search list should be configured.
  • Administrator groups should have Admin accounts.
  • Ensures the Active Directory server is in the same network.
  • The source and destination should contain the same schema.
  • The user should have AD access.
  • Ensures Antivirus is not able to block the application.
  • Disable the firewall.

Steps Need to be Followed for the Successful Migration of Users

Step 1. Download and Run the tool and enter administrator in the administrator and password field.

Enter Default Credentials

Step 2. Add the Domain Name and IP address, click on Save, and then Continue.

Register Domain Controller for Source

Step 3. Add the second domain name in the Register Domain controller.

repeat for target

Step 4. Click on the first domain complete the required details and Save.

Add and Validate Admin Credential

Step 5. Fetch all the active directory objects.

Fetch Active Directory Objects

Step 6. Open the destination domain and enter the necessary details. Fetch all the active directory objects.

Repeat For Target

Step 7. Now it’s time to create the migration scenario by clicking on the Migration button.

Create Migration Scenario

Step 8. Hit on the scenario name Create a task and select the data then Save.

Create New Task (Select Computers)

Step 9. Click on the three dots to map the objects.

Click on (...)

Step 10. Now, select the merge or create option and click on Start.

Either Merge or Create

To update the passwords of the destination users use the user password sync feature:- 

  1. Download and run the AD Watcher Tool.
  2. After successfully installing the AD watcher, the service will start running.
  3. Reset the source User password.
  4. Password will be automatically synced to the destination users.

Step 11. After a while, the process gets completed and the report is generated.

Generate Report


The most-asked query on how to move user from one domain to another in same forest is solved. The manual method to migrate users using ADMT is elaborated in detail. However, due to some of the limitations of the manual method, the automated tool is explained to migrate users from one domain to another without hassle. You can go with any method as per requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the difference between single and multiple Forests?

Ans – The multiple forest AD design adds an extra layer of security to the data.

Q2. Why have multiple domains in a Forest?

Ans – To manage the password policies separately. 

Q3. Is it possible to move domains without  ADMT SID history?

Ans – No, it is not possible with the ADMT tool, but the above-mentioned tool can perform the task without SID history.

Q4. What is Forest in Active Directory?

Ans – Active Directory forest acts as the top level of the Organization and manages the controlling and authentication in the Organization with multiple domains.