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Exchange 2000 & Active Directory Restore

Posted on 2002-06-25
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-13

I am running Small Business Server 2000 (Windows 2000, Exchange) and am implementing a new disaster recovery plan.  We have a test server ready so we can test the disaster plan (different hardware).

The test server has Win2K, Active Directory and Exchange installed but now I want to restore the data from the existing server.

The problem is with Exchange 2000 and Active Directory as they rely on each other.

Using Windows 2000 Backup I have restored the System State Data but this messes up the new server - generates all sorts of error messages and introduces a range of new problems. Not good!

There are only around 12-15 users.  How can I restore Active Directory and Exchange 2000 (mailboxes and public folders) without messing up the new server.

Also, what data do I need to back up in case of a disaster?  Can Exchange 2000 be restored without the System State Data? All I want is to automatically backup around 12-15 mailboxes and public folders and restore them to a fresh server (with different hardware) if something goes wrong.

There are a couple of questions rolled into one - so I've allocated 200 points.


Question by:melvynmyers
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Expert Comment

ID: 7109857
As a rule of thumb, you should backup your data, Windows 2000 System State and the Microsoft Information Store (that is the Exchange databases). If something goes wrong, you can restore your AD environment as well as your Exchange mailboxes.


Expert Comment

ID: 7110810
Just a quick summary first:

You have to (from memory) build a server, restore System State / AD, *THEN* do exchange, then the rest of the data.  Unless you use a "brick level" backup solution (backs each mailbox up individually - also generally a bad thing to do), you need to bring the exchange server up, which has a big dependancy upon AD.

You're might not like this answer - it does involve some hefty reasearch (I'll throw you most of the links that I used for this), and you will have to *PRACTICE* it if you're going to ever need to do it sucessfully.

First up, if you can make the test server as close to the original server as possible, it makes it a *heap* easier.  Doing DRP at my work, I found that different brands of NIC's caused me all sorts of issues.  Testing in your case may make things easier to resolve hardware issues, or convince you to upgrade parts of the backup system.

With regards to what you have to backup, I would suggest something that is Exchange aware (NTBackup is *great* here), something that is windows 2000 aware (knows about system state / permissions etc) and obviously, something that will backup the rest of the data.

If SBS has an "M:" drive (exchange) **DO NOT TOUCH THIS DRIVE**.  EVER.  For all intensive purposes, ignore this drive, don't read it, don't write to it, and don't back it up.

You will require (at a minimum) the following items:

+ System State
+ Exchange (sorry, haven't got an exchange server here that I can reference & its late)
+ all other data you need.

The following links should give you some decent reading:\

Windows 2000 Server Disaster Recovery Guidelines - http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/administration/fileandprint/recovery.asp

HOW TO: Back Up and Restore the System State Using the Windows 2000 Backup Program - http://support.microsoft.com/search/preview.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q240363&GSSNB=1

How to Back Up and Restore an Exchange 2000 Server - http://support.microsoft.com/directory/article.asp?ID=KB;EN-US;Q258243&LN=EN-US&rnk=12&SD=gn&FR=1&qry=backup%20restore&src=DHCS_MSPSS_gn_SRCH&SPR=EXCH2K&

Hope this helps!

Expert Comment

ID: 7110841

(might need this one?)

HOW TO: Back Up a Windows 2000-Based Computer the First Time - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q241007

(this looks handy - wish I had it before I did my DRP :)

How to Move a Windows 2000 Installation to Different Hardware - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q241007
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Author Comment

ID: 7158380
Sorry about the delay getting back to everyone.  Unfortunately the hardware and software on the new server is VERY different to the current server.

I can reenter the users into active directory if required. That only takes a few minutes as there are very few users.

I really need to be able to backup/restore the Exchange mailboxes without having to restore the System State Data.



Accepted Solution

Zak_McKracken earned 400 total points
ID: 7159525
How often do you have to backup the data? Are you looking at doing daily / weekly ?

More importantly - how are your users connecting to the server?  If they're connecting via POP3 and pulling all the mail down to their computer, you're looking in the wrong spot for backups.

If you *really* don't want to restore the system state, then (and I don't really recommend this) but if the user was to pull down their mail into a local PST file, which was either backed up on a daily basis, (either pull it off the machine or push it from the machine to another machine) *may* make things easier.  Alteratively, you could look at EXMerge, and attempt to automate that to extract the users mailboxes on a regular basis, and then backup those data files?

Let me know if you need any more information.

Author Comment

ID: 7161023
The date will be backed up daily. The users are not connecting via POP3. They are using Outlook and connected directly to Exchange Server. This makes it easy when users have to work on a different computer.

I will take a look at EXMerge. Is there any way to extract mailboxes to PST files from the server instead of the client? My concern is that the client computers may not be turned on when the backup is scheduled.

I am under the understanding that some backup programs use MAPI to backup individual mailboxes. We have a copy of Veritas Backup Exec 8.5 which seems to do this but only onto a tape drive. Also, I do not know if the restore will work if the System State Data hasn't been restored onto the new server.

Backup Exec v8.6 has a "backup to disk" feature but I do not want to spend the extra $$$ upgrading just to test this feature.

Thanks for the comments so far! I'm off the look at EXMerge!


Expert Comment

ID: 7164854
EXMerge (as I understand it) will allow you to extract to PST (or at least a format that you can put back into the exchange server in the event that you have to).

If you're going to try backup exec, ensure you do regular testing - I'm not very comfortable with using that or any other programs - in my experience they're slightly unreliable and can have issues.

Let me know how you go with Exmerge.

Author Comment

ID: 7343280
Sorry about the delay - I know it's been a while. I have used ExMerge to successfully backup and restore mailboxes. It can also be set to automatically run at intervals (nightly) by using a scheduling program.

Of course, the PST files it generates are then backed up onto disk/tape.

Many thanks.



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