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need to copy AD structure from Production network to Test network

Posted on 2007-11-29
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I need to get our existing AD structure (win 2003) "copied" from our production network into our lab domain for appropriate testing. Without going through and attaching a lab server to the production network and dcpromo'ing it, or without using a windows System State backup and restore solution... is there any way to do this? I have read that the backup/restore solution can cause problems if the hardware is different - which it is - and I cannot add a test server to the production network.
Help?
Thanks in advance...
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Question by:eporteni
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by:dan_blagut
ID: 20374661
Hi
The AD is usually located in system state and Windows directory (+ NTDS and sysvol). Of course the Windows contain also the specified drivers, but if you chose an server that is very close to your test environement an start in safe mode can fix the problem.
The other solution is to promote an server to your AD, do an backup after the replication is succesfully over, then demote the server.
Then to move your server in test lab and restore the backup. Of course you need to seize the FSMO roles on test lab, but if you move the roles to your server before backup is not neccesary.
Of course is better to seize the roles than to manipulate it, but you can do it.

Dan
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Lee W, MVP earned 125 total points
ID: 20376022
What I would tend to recommend is create a Virtual DC in the production network using Virtual Server, Virtual PC, or VMWare.  Then you can "power off" the virtual PC, copy the vhd (hard disk file) and power it back on.  You can then dcpromo it back down to a non-DC and remove it properly, without fear of having an orphaned DC in the domain.  Then you bring the VHD to a test system running the virtual software and power it on.  

You can also look at getting a tool like Acronis True Image - which can image a physical system to a virtual one... then image the server to a virtual machine and you have a DC with your AD structure.
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