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How do I restore only the Active Directory to a rebuilt Windows 2003 server?  Not the entire System Restore?

Posted on 2006-11-08
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Last Modified: 2007-02-01
This may be an easy question that has already been answered, but..  I can't find an exact answer.  

So.  experts.....

I have a Windows 2003 Domain Controller that is having network problems.  We have changed all of the hardware, tried several different network adapters, etc.  There are NO error events or reports that shed any light on the problem.  
I have bowed to the fact that Windows has become unhappy and unrepairable somewhere in it's may lines of code.  There may have been a software installation 6+ months ago that caused a problem with the Volume Shadow Service.  The problem may have started then.

In order to make sure this client (a very high profile client) runs dependable for the next 5 years, we have decided to do a complete reinstall of windows and import as little as possible from the old system.  This will increase the odds that some sort of Windows problem or corruption will not happen again.  

What I have done so far:  
I have reinstalled a fresh copy of 2003 Server.  I patched completely from the MS website, etc.  The system is exactly as the original.  
I then took a current NTBackup System State and restored the image in DSR mode.  When I reboot, BLUE SCREEN!  
I tried this 3 times using different methods.  All failed.  The drive letters, RAID controller, everything, is exactly the same as the original system.  The NTBackup image was created prior to the re-isntall.  


So....
I want to reinstrall the system again.  I do not want to import anything that could compromise the integrity of the new build.  

How can I restore ONLY the Active Directory user and group accounts and NOT anything else that may compromise the success of the new build?  I can re-add the printers, DHCP, DNS, shares, etc.  I want to try and save lots of typing and clicking and keep the 60+ useraccounts intact with their existing passwords.  This will help the Monday morning after be as smooth as possible.  

Please excuse my ignorance if this is a simple procedure.  If I could find an answer elsewhere or here on experts-exchange that was absolute regarding this problem, I would already do so.  If this is not listed anywhere, it would be good to know since Windows is so stable.... NOT!

Thank you in advance for your expert advise.  
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Question by:TSguru
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Expert Comment

by:MidnightOne
ID: 17900764
TSguru:

I feel your pain. Been there, done that.

What's the BSOD error? Backup software? Is there a second DC on the domain?

And, of course, try this:

Build server with same name.
Promote to DC with same domain name.
reboot.
Restore system state.
Reboot.

HTH

MidnightOne
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by:TSguru
ID: 17901170
No second DC.  

When I have restored the system state, I get a BSOD.  I do not have the error code.  

Can I just import the user accounts?  Not the whole system state???
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Expert Comment

by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 17901984
unfortunately not ,the system state is made up of a few components and does come as a package when you restore.....have you followed some the ms documents that deal with this?

Brian put them all one page:

http://msmvps.com/blogs/ad/archive/2006/05/17/95625.aspx
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megs28 earned 250 total points
ID: 17903050
It sounds like the network is fairly small, and there aren't a lot of services depending on this DC.  If that is the case, personally, I wouldn't bother with a system state restore, etc.  I'd get a temporary "server" (whitebox would do), install the same server version of Windows Server as your messed up DC, dcpromo it to a DC, move FSMO roles and DNS, and remove the original server from the domain.  After that, you can reinstall the OS on the original server, dcpromo to make it a DC, move back all services and FSMO roles, etc.  and then restore any data you actually want.  This will allow you to still have the entire AD directory with no corruption and virtually eliminate any chance of restoring something you don't want or think is problematic.  You may even choose to leave the "temporary" DC up and running for redundancy.
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by:TSguru
ID: 18010129
What is the best way to keep the DNS in tact?
How do I move it from one server to another?

I tried this, but the AD-integrated was screwed up.  

I can try again.
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Expert Comment

by:megs28
ID: 18011899
If your DNS is AD integrated, setup a second DC and install it as a DNS server.  I can't remember exactly which options to choose, but it would be a primary ad-integrated DNS server.  If you don't have AD integrated DNS backup, setup a secondary DNS server and have it transfer zones with the primary server.  This will keep a copy of your DNS information, but it is read only.  The first method is the best way to go.  If it isn't currently AD integrated, see if you have the option to make it ADintegrated.
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Expert Comment

by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 18013990
you can copy the actual files over but loading a zone would be better
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by:TSguru
ID: 18390891
We created a backup DC, rebuilt the primary server and mograted the AD.  It was a bit finicky, but it worked.  Whew!!

Thank you experts.
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Expert Comment

by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 18416088
sounds good to me, well done
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