Windows Server 2003 registry corruption problem

Posted on 2009-04-16
Last Modified: 2012-05-06

We have one office with a seperate windows 2003 server acting as a domain controller.  This morning it would not boot up and there was an error message "system32\config corrupt or missing".  When we booted using Recovery Console we discovered that the 'default' file within the system32\config folder was missing.  We managed to replace the missing file with a copy of the default.sav file and now the server boots up but not as a domain controller.

Is there any way of restoring the domrain controller settings or do we have to run dcpromo again and recreate the active directory?  We do not have any windows back ups to fall back on, although our files are backed up elsewhere (even though these seem to be in tact)

Any help would be gratefully received
Question by:baileytibbs
    LVL 59

    Expert Comment

    by:Darius Ghassem
    If you don't have a backup then I would demote then re-promote the server to a DC. Doing this will make sure you don't have any issues down the road. You are most likely going to have to dcpromo /forceremoval the system and might even have to reinstall the OS to make sure the DC is running correctly. Backups are very important. RUn a metadata cleanup when you demote.

    Author Comment

    Thanks for coming back to me about this.  Demoting and re-promoting won't be a problem in itself as the office only has 10 users.  However, this server also runs Microsoft Exchnage 2003 and I am not sure how this will react to this whole process, which is why I am reluctant to do this.  Do you have any ideas?

    LVL 59

    Expert Comment

    by:Darius Ghassem
    Well to be honest with you I'm not a Expert on Exchange because it has been some years since I have personally worked with it. To be honest with you if I remember right you might have some trouble with Exchange until you get the system back to a DC status. I would post another question in the Exchange zone so get a 100% answer on this though. Exchange relies on AD. Also, it isn't the best idea to run Exchange on a DC for this reason.
    LVL 65

    Accepted Solution

    Running DCPROMO on a server with Exchange installed is not supported and will usually break Exchange. If you only have the one domain controller it will also kill your Exchange server deployment.

    The best thing I would suggest right now is to call Microsoft and pay their fee. There is a good chance that you may end up having to do a full restore of the system. However if you don't have the system state, it could mean a manual extraction of the data from the Exchange databases. Microsoft are your best option here as you are in a DR scenario.

    LVL 59

    Expert Comment

    by:Darius Ghassem
    Anything Mestha (Simon) says to do when it comes to Exchange is your best bet.

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