How to best restore a SBS2003 server after crash AND plan ahead for transition to Windows Server

We've recently taken over a small SBS2003 environment at a small local government agency (50 users).  Today, the SBS refused to boot from the SCSI HDD, which Dell replaced for us in an astounding 2 hours.  We do have backups of the Exchange stores and data, and of the "system state" (this server had BackupExec), but are not sure that the Active Directory objects were ever backed up.  Tonight and tomorrow, we are rebuilding the server.  If we re-create everyone's accounts manually (we don't know yet if we can access the data from the HDD), are we going to run into issues restoring their Exchange accounts, file permissions, etc?

We are advising this agency to move away from SBS and to separate Windows Server products in the very near future (a few weeks) ... they are growing to the point where it would be helpful to separate server functions, and when the SBS crashed, there was no backup domain controller or DNS to take over.  Is there anything we need to consider NOW to make that next transition more straightforward?
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1) transition pack allows seperatng the servers. this is the natural upgrade from SBS.

2) You need to find out if AD was backed up. If it was not, then you may have serious issues getting the server up and running, especially exchange.

Worst case, restore somewhere and use Exmerge , but it won't be fun for 50 users.

There is an MS DOC on recommended practices for backing up an SBS server.

I hope this helps !
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You should learn more about SBS.  IF they don't have a second DC, that's not the fault of SBS - SBS supports multiple DCs and multiple servers - the only restriction in this area is that the SBS server must be the FSMO master DC.  (Which means multiple DNS servers is also fine).

If they need to have trusts, they should migrate away from SBS.

If they expect to have 60-70 users in the next couple of years, then you should migrate away from SBS.  OTHERWISE, there's not much reason to.

As for recovery, If you ever backed up the system state, then you SHOULD have an Active Directory backup.

If for some reason you cannot access/use your System State backup, then make sure you name the server and the domain the same and you should be able to mount a copy of the old exchange database - if you have access to it.

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