Domain Functional Level Supported OSs

Gaven 41 Reputation points

We have a legacy domain running at functional level 2003 with 2003 and 2008 domain controllers. The reason it's so old is that we have both Windows 95 and NT 4.0 clients. If we upgrade the 2008 DCs to 2012 but keep the 2003 DCs and functional level, will that have any impact on the 95/NT machines? Is there a matrix out there showing which versions of Windows are compatible with individual domain functional levels? For example, I know from experience that 95/NT works with a 2003 domain functional level. If the domain was raised to 2008, would 95/NT still work? What about 2000? I found the matrix of which Windows Server versions are supported by individual domain functional levels but I couldn't find one listed supported client Windows versions.

Windows Server
Windows Server
A family of Microsoft server operating systems that support enterprise-level management, data storage, applications, and communications.
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  1. Dave Patrick 426.2K Reputation points MVP

    Its a given that those old OSs are long out of support. Raising the DFL is less likely an issue as the domain controller operating systems. NT's reliance on computer browser and netbios technologies is the greater issue. 2008 and newer are going to be more problematic in this regard.

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  1. Limitless Technology 44,011 Reputation points


    Windows 95 and NT is an ancient operating system, the recommended resolution is to upgrade the system, but I assume that you might have some legacy applications in your environment, keeping them will give you backward compatibility.

    To my knowledge, Windows 95/NT cannot authenticate on a Windows Server 2008 domain. However I cannot give it a try, and failed to find any documentation about this.

    All I can suggest is to prepare a testing environment to give it a try prior to making changes in the production environment.

    Additionally, even for Windows 98 there are certain limitations that may apply to 95 when joining a 2008 DFL, you can apply the same settings on your test environment if it helps: com/wiki/contents/articles/


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