Backing Up AD?

Is it possible to back up Active Directory, with all the accounts, groups and properties?

What's an easy way to do this, please?

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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
Yes either using the built in backup (ntbackup) or an NT aware backup system, like Vertas :) or ARCServe:(

just make sure you select system state, and the AD database will get backed up

Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
To back up system state on a domain controller

 Log on to the domain controller by using an account that has Domain Admins, local Administrator, or Backup Operator credentials.
 Start the Windows NT Backup Wizard by choosing one of the following options:

• Open a command prompt, type ntbackup and press ENTER.
• Click Start, point to Programs, then point to Accessories, then point to System Tools, and then click Backup.
 Click the Backup Wizard button, and then click Next.
 Select Only back up the system state data.
 In the Where to Store the Backup box, select the Backup Media Type by choosing one of the following options:

• Choose File if you want to back up to a file. If you do not have a tape backup unit installed, File is selected automatically.
• Choose a tape device if you want to back up to tape.
 In the Backup Media or File Name box, choose one of the following options:

• If you are backing up to a file, type a path and file name for the backup (.bkf) file, or click the Browse button to find a folder or file. If the destination folder or file does not exist, the system creates it.
• If you are backing up to a tape unit, choose the tape that you want to use.
 After you click Next, the Completing the Backup Wizard screen appears. This screen summarizes the options selected for this backup job. Verify that Prompt to replace data is listed in the How category. If it is not, click the Advanced button, click Next until you reach the Media Options screen, and then select Replace the data on the media with this backup.
 Complete the remaining wizard screens, and click Finish to begin the backup operation. When a Replace Data dialog box appears, click Yes to overwrite the existing backup on this tape or file path with this backup. A progress indicator shows the status of the backup operation.

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Jason210Author Commented:
Many thanks Pete.

Not quite sure if system state was what I wanted, so should be obliged if you can tell me what "Back Up System State actually means". I put the points up a little here for your trouble.

Say I need to reinstall Windows 2K Server. I start with an install, configure everything, and then put back the file structure from CDs manually. Then, can I use the System state back up to re-create the account structure?

The only thing then left to do is to create the right permissions - I can handle that.

The problem is that if the server software is getting into a hanging state, ghosting or backing up the entire disk doesn't work because you just end up backing up the errors. I want to make provision for a re-install scenario. Are you with me?

Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
>>Say I need to reinstall Windows 2K Server. I start with an install, configure everything, and then put back the file structure from CDs manually. Then, can I use the System state back up to re-create the account structure?

Correct - system state backs up the registry on any PC


>>put back the file structure from CDs manually

you dont need to do the above

install the operating system (fresh) then run a full restore (if you backed everything - "all drives & system state" up)

- system state backs up the registry on any PC
on a domain controller system state also backs up the active directory, this is a file called NTDS.DIT - if you have ONE domain controller you can resore in this way if you have two then you only need to resore AD if you know the broken domain controller has the only good copy of AD backed up - this is VERY rare. then you would need to do a restoe in authorative mode (Ive NEVER had to do this and Ive fixed A LOT of servers :)

If your running a domain in a decent size corporate enviroment I STRONGLY suggest you get some "purchased" backup software - its the most important peice of software you can buy (more important than AV!) any system is only as good as its last backup :)

The version built into windows (ntbackup) is a cut down version of veritas - the full version "Veritas backup Exec 9.1" is a truely outstanding peice of kit (allways buy it with the open file option)
Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
Jason210Author Commented:
Thanks. Good that you are around to save the day!

We're not that big, we started out with just three accounts at our sub-office on a P-2-P system just 3 years ago. There are about 50 accounts now. Fast growing! But they won't spend on software like Veritas. I've already spent more than this years budget for the whole company just in our region.
Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
No problem

If you cant afford backup software continue what you are doing and also get some simple scripts written that back up your users data to a PC on the network - you tend to get in trouble more for loosing user data than applications :)

Jason210Author Commented:
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