Restore Active Directory on different computer

Hi everyone,

I have a system state backup file which backup from an old Win2k server (consists of Active directory).

Assume that the whole server collapsed/damaged, I would like to restore the whole active directory (AD) to a new computer which does not have hardware as the old server such as SCSI card, raid card, network adapter and etc.

The following tasks are done by me at early stage:
1. Installed Win2k server with service pack 4 which same as the old server on the new computer.
2. Ensure no driver installed on this newly installed win2k server computer.
That's all that I've done.

I have tried to restore the system state backup file without promoting the server to AD and installing exchange server but the win2k failed to boot and caused "Inaccessible boot device".
I even tried to repair the win2k by using fixmbr, fixboot and chkdsk yet failed to boot.

I have some doubts on proceeding to restore Active Directory (AD):
1. Do I need to promote the new computer to AD after I installed the Win2k Server (before restore the system state backup)?
2. The old Win2k server has exchange 2000 server. So, do I need to install exchange server before restore the system state backup?

Anyone kindly advise what I have done wrong and what are the proper steps in restoring the AD
would be much appreciated.

Thank you very much.

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You need to perform the restore while booted to Directory Services Restore Mode.  I don't know if you need exchange installed, but I would think so.  HOWEVER, I don't think you're going to be able to get it working again.  Maybe.  But every time I've seen people switch hardware for a restore, Booting windows is next to impossible.  Your best hope might be if you can salvage the motherboard or buy another one (perhaps on e-bay) because MOST of the reason you won't be able to boot is the motherboard's differences.
altricAuthor Commented:
Oops, if what you said is true then what is the purpose of backup the systemstate if it couldn't be used on different hardware???  

Then such disaster recovery method is meaningless if I couldn't restore  it to  different hardware.  In other words, I have to buy two machine which exactly have same type of hardwares in order to achieve the disaster recovery process ????  That's horrible of Microsoft products..... : (

Anyone have better idea???

Please advise....

Thank you avery much
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Disaster Recovery has many levels.  If windows corrupt, you can restore the System state and be fine.  If hardware dies, you get a replacement component of the same make/model and restore.  If the building burns down, then yes, you need to replace with the same hardware.  This is, in part, why I recommend and most people use branded server hardware.  If something goes wrong, replacing it with like components is fairly easy.

Further, if you really want to plan for disasters, then you need another site and at least two domain controllers to backup each other.  

If you're trying to make a DR plan, then you REALLY need to look at what other systems are not redundant.  Are you using RAID?  Do you have a second DC?  Ask yourself, "how important is this data" and "how much money would I lose if I couldn't conduct business for a day".  Based on the answers to these questions you can better assess what you need to do for a DR plan.

You do take your backups off site, don't you?
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altricAuthor Commented:
Yes, I agreed with you.

My DR plan was planned for the worst case that is the whole server computer fries up or maybe worst...

If the model of the branded server was too old I think is quite difficult to get replacement from the market.

So the proper DR plan for my scenario mentioned above, is to have another new computer (regardless of same model) to be put offsite and create it as a replication partner with the current running server.  Otherwise the system state backup file on hand will become useless if the worst case happens on my server. Am I right?

One DRP plan I had to create with win2k servers. Creating a replication partnet would be ideal. But due to costs we could only afford a warm site and couldn't have the backup server off site and running at all times.  Restoring win2k server to different hardware is a real pain. windows 2003 server on the other hand is really easy. So if you can upgrade I'd reccomend that. You can then restore AD from backup media pretty easily.

I got the same error you did in which the win2k wouldn't boot up on the new server and I had to do a windows OS repair to get it up and running. Whole process took about 5-6 hours. Pretty unacceptable for our plan. What I eneded up doing was just backing up data and restoring that to the backup server with all the file permissions carrying over.  We didn't have too many users so in the event of a disaster we decided we would quickly create users on the backup serverwith AD already installed if needed. There's a little bit of overhead but it's defininately better than wasting time trying to get AD copied over during an emergency.  

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altricAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the response.

To bboy77: You mentioned that you faced the same problem as I did.  May i know how you actually get it up and running??  Do you mind to share with me?

For your information, the following are the tasks/actions that I have taken yet failed to boot:

1. Fixmbr
2. Fixboot
3. Repair installation of existing OS
4. Disable ACPI
5. Chkdsk C: /r

Kindly advise.

Thank you very much.
I assume this machine was a domain controller if that is the case you are doing it the wrong way.
Let me know.

Really sorry about the late response. I actually did an emergency repair of the Windows 2000 server OS after I restored the backup on new hardware. But reinstalling the OS took me a couple hours and was a waste of time. Checkdisk, working on the MBR, etc didn't work for me.

Suppossedly Veritas has a new tool for intelligent disaster recovery that can restore backups to different hardware called "Bare Metal Restore"

My comany didnt want to spend even more money on backup software, so I've never tried it out. But maybe it's the perfect solution to your problem.
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