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Win 2003 Server Recovery

Posted on 2004-10-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-26

In the event that a Windows 2003 Server Domain Controller ceases to operate: What would you say are the essential recovery items a good disaster recovery technician should have?

Assume that any application databases and user directories have been successfully backed up to tape so eventual recovery of application data  and user files will be OK. I just need to know what are the most critical items to have to get the Server back on its feet.
Question by:Brian_Blair
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Expert Comment

ID: 12371053
You should backup the system state data with your backup software.  I also like to record any special hardware configuration that were made.  I also keep a log of any drivers I updated.  And I like to keep all my drivers handy in case I need to do a reinstall.

Hope this helps.

Assisted Solution

nihlcat earned 150 total points
ID: 12371167
Server 2003 provides Automated System Recovery.  Regularly created ASR disks and the Operating System CD should be kept handy.  Detailed info on ASR is available here:


Assisted Solution

Panjandrum earned 375 total points
ID: 12371394
These are the guidlines for preparing a Disaster recovery

-Create a disaster recovery plan for performing regular backup operations
-Test your backup files and your backup plan
-Keep two sets of backed-up files (onsite/offsite)
-Create a redundant copy of the system state data
   - Registry, Boot files, Com+ Class Registration, including system files, SYSVOL directory, IIS metadirectory (if  
     installed), System files that are under Windows File protection
-Install the recovery console as a startup option
-keep the installation cd with you

tools in the preferred order of use (from little to no risk of data till potential data loss)
- Safe mode
- Last known Good configuration
- Backup
- Recovery Console
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Author Comment

ID: 12371717
Thanks for the suggestions , please keep them coming.

jainyc- If I have a backup of the system state data how would I go about restoring it in the event of failure

Also, no one out there suggested Emer repair Disks- are they a thing of the past???


Expert Comment

ID: 12372199
I've restored the system state data using MS's backup software.  As other have said you can use ARS.  However if you're using a third party solution like I am then you have to follow their instructions.  If you have multiple domain controller you have to decided between an authoritative or non authoritative restore.

1. Restart the system
2. Press F8
3. At the options menu choose 'Directory Services Restore

Expert Comment

ID: 12373302
Panjandrum, thanks.  I failed to mention ASR as being the option of last resort.  Some of my answers are too short! :(

Assisted Solution

katacombz earned 150 total points
ID: 12373538

Do not depend on ASR to back up and recover user data files stored on the boot and system volumes. In addition, because your system volume is formatted during the ASR recovery process, any user files or directories located on those volumes are lost.

it cvan also format any other partitioins it can access at this point that asr starts.

asr may recover your O\S but if you have not backed up data on other partitions this option should not be choosen.

Author Comment

ID: 12383097
jainyc- In some cases it would be a server that is one of several domain controllers. What is the authoritative vs. non-authoritative restore all about?? Can you elaborate?

Assisted Solution

stevegw62 earned 150 total points
ID: 12393353
If you are comfortable that all data is backed up. What I have done in the past is to make the system drive small enough to take AD and required applications only usually between 2 and 3.5 gig partition. And another partition or two for everything else and then create a bootable image of the entire C drive, using ghost or something similar. Then I recreate this system image to DVD every 4 weeks. This does depend heavily on how often the Servers config is changed though. The machines I do this on are not changed often, If the system state is changed regularly it is not a possibility.
It maybe worth looking at as data recovery is a piece of cake if this option is available to you.

Accepted Solution

jainyc earned 375 total points
ID: 12400764
authoritative vs. non-authoritative

Basically an authoritative restore takes the DC directory from tape or other media and copies it to the DC when that DC goes online it
and then replicates the restored AD it to otherDC in the domain.  
A Non-authoritative restore allows the DC to accept any updates from other DC since it went down.


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