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How to backup and restore domain controller

Posted on 2008-10-17
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I perform IT in a small office (under 30 Workstations) that has a windows 2000 server domain controller.  Can you provide step by step instructions for backing up the domain controller in such a way that i can restore it entirely in the event of a hardware failure or fire?

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Question by:EdSoftware
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by:XeroX1988
XeroX1988 earned 150 total points
ID: 22740866
What you want to do is completely be sure your server can be restored to the time when the backup was created. Here we use Acronis True Image for that purpose.

We have a boot partition for our operating system and another partition for out active directory and home directories. Apart from those 2 there is an external USB hard disc connected to the server.

In Acronis we've scheduled full backups of the boot partition and the data partition, every day the data partition is backed up to the USB hard disc and the boot partition is backed up twice a week.

A month ago we replaced our hard drive of the server and used the Acronis True Image restore disc (you can create it with acronis) to restore the boot partition and after that the data partition. Worked like a charm.

Also all of our clients have the Acronis agent, managable through our server, with a scheduled backup towards the server.

Though the license could be rather costly for a small business it's a very decent software package. You might want to take a look at Norton Ghost aswell, as it pretty much does the same. The reason we don't work with Ghost is that we have had a few bumps on the road with symantec.
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fishadr earned 350 total points
ID: 22741193
Whenever I install a Domain Controller I configure the DC to run a System-State Backup each day and then backup this file using normal backup to tape.

All you need to do then is to install the Operating System and any additional software that was on the server, then re-boot the server in to Directory Services Restore mode by using the F8 key when the server is starting, and then restore the System-State backup. This will restore the DC and all the Active Directory, restart the server and all should be fine.

Full details:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/216993
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc787254.aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc759623.aspx
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by:sunilswain
ID: 22756366
System-state backup is quite enough if you want to backup only the system state for a DC.
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by:XeroX1988
ID: 22759973
What might be a solution for your company aswell is check what are the most critical files on the server and make sure those are copied / backup up in case of a fire.

You still have the fact that you need a replacement server and a new install, including the active directory but at least you got, for example, the users home directories / profiles or any other important shared files across the network.

I guess it pretty much depends on what your risks involved are. And, probably most important, are you willing to take those risks or not.

Once you maded that clear you can start looking at solutions, creating a short list of possible solutions and the costs involved (also after the disaster has happened, IE if you have to work a full day to get everything back online, costs money).

I think you, or the big boss, should you able to choose a suited solution for your needs that way.

So much for the theoratical thoughts, hope you can get something usefull out of it.
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Author Closing Comment

by:EdSoftware
ID: 31507126
The Windows backup solution is cost-effective for us. The documentation provided with the solution is very helpful. The Acronis solution is excellent, but probabl;y in the future for us, costwise.
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