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DC Failure Due To Hard Drive Changes

I am experiencing the problem described at this URL:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/258062

"System Error, security accounts manager initialization failed because of the following error: Directory Services cannot start."

This error showed up after I tried to install a new Seagate hard drive.  I immediately removed the new hard drive, but the problem did not go away.  Now, I cannot boot the computer or login under any circumstance.  I figured out how to start the recovery console, but I haven't figured out how to solve the problem.

There is one possible root cause that I'm aware of:  When I use the MAP command in the recovery console, it shows partition 1 has drive letter D, partition 2 has drive letter C, and partition 3 has drive letter E.  Before this all started, partition 1 was C, partition 2 was D, and partition 3 was E or F.  I know that the OS is installed in partition 3, but I have no idea how to fix the drive letter assignments from recovery console.  I tried fixmbr and fixboot, but with no luck.

All the solutions at microsoft.com involve editing the registry, but I have found no way to do that in this situation.  I cannot login and the computer wont boot onto the network.. even if it did, I'm sure the DC registry would not be accessible.

Help!
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miqrogroove
Asked:
miqrogroove
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2 Solutions
 
miqrogrooveAuthor Commented:
Also, if I take the old HD and put it in another computer, then the disk management console shows partition 2 marked as 'active'.
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Netman66Commented:
Well, if you're brave I can suggest this:

Boot from a floppy with the newest version of FDISK - something from 98 or ME.   You can get them here:  www.bootdisk.com

Using FDISK, mark partition 1 as active.

Try rebooting normally.

Do NOT try to do an FDISK /MBR or you'll be doing a reinstall.  

My best guess on why this happened is that the new HDD was set to Master and it somehow interfered with the existing drive - just a guess...

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miqrogrooveAuthor Commented:
I did something similar by putting the ailing hard drive into another computer and using Disk Management to mark part 1 active.  Still no luck!  All I can tell from the login screen is that when I try to log in to DS restore mode the paths show up as "C:\SERVER\..." so somehow part 3 got letter C  :(

I did some searching on google and found that in all cases when this error arrises, the operator has resorted to taking a loss on the DC.  In cases where there is only one DC (such as my home network), the entire domain is a loss.

I'm happy to see this as a challenge to overcome, but at the same time I have lost a lot of respect for Windows as a Server platform.  Adding a hard drive must be a routine operation for Server admins.  If there is some rule about not installing a DC on disk 1, part 3, then they sure didn't make that an MCSE test question.
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miqrogrooveAuthor Commented:
Oh, and I should point out after marking part 1 active, the drive letters show up correctly in the MAP command.  The drive letters Windows is using must be completely different.
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Netman66Commented:
From the Recovery Console cna you determine where the boot ans system partitions are?

If so, copy the boot.ini file out to floppy and make any corrections then copy it back.

It wouldn't hurt to try to force the issue.
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miqrogrooveAuthor Commented:
Hey I'm back

I've pretty much been on vacation from e-e since this happened.  I'll recap:  I did end up taking a loss on the DC.  In fact, I used the opportunity to do a motherboard upgrade on it.

I also learned an important lesson:  Domains that have only 1 DC must maintain regular System State backups.  Losing an entire domain is like losing a Word document after not saving 12 hours of dictation.  It meant 12 hours of downtime for me, and for other people as well.

As far as I know, there is no viable solution to the original question.

I have the points to spare, so I'm happy to split it out anyway.

Thanks,
-- Miqro
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Netman66Commented:
Thanks for the update.  You're right, one DC gives you much pain when you lose any part of the AD without proper Disaster Recovery.

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