I use a Windows 2003 Server as a file server, Domain Controller and Exchange 2003 server. The config stays pretty much the same all the time - I never add or delete users or change the AD settings. So I've been lazy about backups and don't have any recent backups (all well over 90 days old). This morning, it fails during bootup with "Directory Service cannot start - click ok to shutdown and restart in Directory Services Restore Mode". It would not be a disaster if I had to rebuild it from scratch except that it has a lot of stored emails in the Exchange server.
I'm able to log in under Directory Services Restore Mode, but cannot run exmerge.exe to extract the emails from Exchange because it appears to need the Directory Services. If I restore the System State using one of my old backups, there is a risk that it will trash everything because the backup is too old (more than the "tombstone" date). Is there a solution?