We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

We've partnered with Certified Experts, Carl Webster and Richard Faulkner, to bring you two Citrix podcasts. Learn about 2020 trends and get answers to your biggest Citrix questions!Listen Now


Active Directory 2003 and 2008 Backups

Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I'm running multiple Windows Server 2003 domain controllers and multiple Windows Server 2008 domain controllers.  I'm currently taking backups of both 2003 and 2008 DCs.  

Do I need to backup both types of DCs or am I ok only backing up the 2008 DCs?
Watch Question

Site Reliability Engineer
Most Valuable Expert 2011

Technically you can do a System State backup of the server which holds all your FSMO roles and it will give you a full Active Directory backup, since all the DCs will hold a replica of the same Active Directory data.

To be honest, if your DCs are just that - DCs - then I treat them as disposable. If they fail, there is no need to restore them from backup; you can rebuild the machine and repromote it as a DC, which is a much tidier method of returning the DC to service, rather than restoring from backup. You should, however, have a System State backup of at least 2 DCs, so that in a full server outage you do have something to restore Active Directory from.

However, if you have other roles on the DCs - printers, file storage, IIS and so on - then you should be doing full backups in the event you need to restore.


Not the solution you were looking for? Getting a personalized solution is easy.

Ask the Experts


Thanks Matt.  It looks like we have all our FSMO roles on a single box, so I'll go this route.
Access more of Experts Exchange with a free account
Thanks for using Experts Exchange.

Create a free account to continue.

Limited access with a free account allows you to:

  • View three pieces of content (articles, solutions, posts, and videos)
  • Ask the experts questions (counted toward content limit)
  • Customize your dashboard and profile

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.