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IIS Admin service fails to start after installing System State backup to a new machine

Posted on 2005-03-08
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As part of by disaster recovery plan, I want to do a test reinstall of a Windows 2003 webserver.

The webserver is a bit of a jack of all trades; it runs Windows 2003 Server (Standard), IIS6,  SQL Server 2000 and Active Directory.

I back it up using NT Backup; including backups for c:\InetPub, and the System State.

During my test restore, I build a new Windows 2003 server in a virtual PC, install all the software (IIS, Active Directory, SQL Server etc), and then try to restore my backups.

Restoring the files works fine.

However, when I restore the system state, the IIS admin service breaks completely.  It fails to start with the following error:

"Windows could not start the IIS Admin Service on local computer.  For more information review system event log.  If this is a none Microsoft service, contact the the service vendor, and refer to the service specific error code: 2146893813"

In the Event log I have the following error:

"The IIS Admin Service service terminated with service specific error 2148073483"

Now, I suspect that this has something to do with the MetaBase.xml encryption being machine specific.  I've manually exported a backup of the IIS Metabase using iisback.vbs using a specified password (rather than the machine password).  However, I can't figure out how to restore this because I can't get IIS Admin Service to start.

So, my questions are:
(a) Does anyone know how to get IIS Admin Service to start again?
(b) How do other people backup and restore active directory via System State backup without breaking IIS on restore?

Thanks

David
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Question by:mr_davidlaing
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Dave_Dietz earned 2000 total points
ID: 13488510
You are absolutely correct about the metabase encryption issue.

a) To restore the backed up metabase you should be able to use the following command line:

cscript iisback.vbs /restore /b BackupName /e EncryptionPassword

This should restore the metabase in a working format using the new encryption keys of the machine and should not require the iisadmin service to be running for it to work.

b) It is not recommended that you install IIS on a Domain Controller for several reasons - this is one of them.  If you can't get around installing IIS on a DC then a full system backup is the best method for avoiding this issue.  A System State backup includes the Metabase but not the MachineKeys so restoring a System State backup to a different machine than the one it was taken from will invariably lead to this problem.  Backing up the machinekeys and restoring them won't help any becuase they are tied to the SID and system encryption key of the machine they are on.

Dave Dietz
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Author Comment

by:mr_davidlaing
ID: 13494098
Dave,

Thanks for the advise.

I've tried out (a); and as you suggest, if you specify a password when backing up the metabase using iisback.vbs, then it uses your password rather than the machine encryption key.  I've thus been able to successfully restore the metabase to a new machine using the supplied password.

Concerning (b):
Unfortunately I can't get around installing IIS on the DC (we're a small company, and only have one dedicated hosting machine :).  Are you suggesting that there is no way to backup the DC (and IIS) other than making a full hard drive backup?  Is it possible to restore this full backup to a different machine (imagining the datacentre was destroyed by fire), or will I still encounter the same machinekey/SID problems?

Thanks
D
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:Dave_Dietz
ID: 13496015
Backing up a DC is always a fun experience - one which is made no easier by having things like IIS and/or Exchange installed.

For a drop and run solution you would need to perform a full backup and restore it to identical (or at least very similar) hardware.  If it was just AD you were worried about we could look at System State restores and such but this is more like backing up two different systems at the same time.

Worst comes to worst you could take a copy of the metabase from a System State backup and import the sites from it using the ISM and you might not have to do any additional configuration - at most you would need to set userID and password information for anonymous access and Application Pool activation.

Dave Dietz
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Author Comment

by:mr_davidlaing
ID: 13496088
I've just spoken with MS technical support; and they laughed at the thought of trying to reinstall a AD system state backup on a Virtual Machine.  As you mention, system state backups are pretty machine specific.  I just wish this was pointed out in slightly larger letters in the documentation!

Dave, I'm unfamiliar with the ISM tool.  What does that stand for, and where can I find out about it?
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Expert Comment

by:Dave_Dietz
ID: 13496792
ISM = Internet Services Manager -> The IIS management console.....  :-)

Dave Dietz
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Author Comment

by:mr_davidlaing
ID: 13497362
Doh!  My accronym expansion braincells have obviously gone on holiday.  I have the pleasure of being intimately associated with the ISM :)  Thanks for all your help.
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Expert Comment

by:Dave_Dietz
ID: 13497615
Not a problem....  :-)

Dave Dietz
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