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Restoring 2003 Active Directory into Test Environment

I'm trying to Restore our 2003 Active Directory live environment onto a Test server in a closed off network environment but am struggling with the restore. Here are the steps i've tried so far.

1. Backup Live DC's System State using NTBackup
2. Installed fresh copy of Windows2003 onto test server (Not the same spec as the live DC)
3. Service packed test server to same level as Live DC
4. Restored System State from Live DC onto test server

The system then reboots, shows the startup screen & then loops around rebooting both in Normal & Safe mode.

5. Have tried booting from the 2003 install CD & repairing the installation.

This results in, instead of rebooting in a loop it freezes on the startup screen.

Does any one know if what we're trying to do is possible with different hardware?
2 Solutions
PberSolutions ArchitectCommented:
Instead of doing a system state backup try a full backup.  I had to use full backups to do this and I was using same hardware.

You can also DCpromo your test box in your live environment and then after it does it's full replication and asks for a reboot, move it to the lab.  In your prod environment you can remove the old DC and do some metadata cleanup.  In the LAB sieze the roles and you should be good to go.

Another method would be to use Virtual Server.  DCpromo a virtual box as above.  Take server offline and move hard disk file to lab.  Turn on the virtual box in prod and dcpromo back down to a server (this cleans up AD real nice).  In the lab just connect the hard disk file to a new Virtual server and sieze the FSMO roles.
did you read this - same applies for 2003

Hi Richard
I have done som testing regarding disaster recovery on different hardware, my experience is that a repair does not work the first time if you run it once more it usally works great. During my tests I have run into som issuses restoring AD. In a repair situation it tries to start AD during the install. This somtimes fail with an error regarding lsa.exe. My experience is that a newly installed controller that has log files on different drives. During a fresh install security settings on the other drives are pretty strict this has to be changed to everyone, system and admin full rights. If your server stores all AD info on C drive it usally works great.

Hope this helps.

br lars
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