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I can't logon to my domain controller! But I urgently need to access the data stored in there!

Posted on 2010-01-10
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Last Modified: 2012-05-08
Last week, my Windows 2000 server acting as a PDC crashed. I can't seem to logon. It took a very long time just to get to the login page, eventually when I do get the Ctrl+Alt+Del page, I can't login, again it took a long time just to give me an error. Initial errors received had something to do with SAM, then after a few more reboots, I received errors like netlogon not available.

I noticed there was something wrong with the server when it hung, and the last error I saw was RPC couldn't start and low virtual memory. So, I decided to reboot the server and all has failed ever since.

However, I do have a Secondary DC so I managed to make this a full PDC with all the 5 FSMO on it. So users have no issues joining the domain from their workstations.

My ONLY concern now is that I need to access the files stored on this machine. I don't need it to act as a domain controller for now until i can manage to copy my files out and then I can do a full new reinstallation.

Also, I have tried to go into safe mode and even Directory Restore Mode but all has failed. I also tried using a different user account that is not an administrator just for testing purpose and it said user can't logon to this machine (because I only set admin to be able to log on). So doesn't this mean something there is working if it can validate the wrong user.

Also, I can ping the machine via IP address from my other domain controller. I can't ping via hostname. TTL=128

When I \\hostname or \\IP address it says network path not found. When I try to access via computer management I can't.

I tried net view and gave error 53.

I tried to repair using the CD but it doesn't allow me to. Maybe because it's a Domain Controller?

Also, I'm running on RAID 5, but split into 2 partitions. C:\ for OS and D:\ for data

My question:

1. I have yet to try to reinstall Windows 2000 using the CD as I'm not sure if it will affect my data on D:\? If I do try to reinstall it, would it not erase my data? Also, do I have to press f6 because it's running on SCSI / RAID. How will it effect my D:

2. What other options do I have to access my files?

Please help ! It's been a week and I can't seem to "google" any solutions.

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Question by:settc
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Accepted Solution

by:
MrVoid earned 1500 total points
ID: 26277779
You can boot to a bootable CD and then assess the data on the drives. You would need to have the RAID drivers involved in your bootable CD. You could use a program like Acronis to backup your drive and then view the contents of the backup on a different machine. If you reload you will need to press F6 to load your RAID drivers. It will not mess with the data on D: it will reinstall your OS only. I have seen it mess up program installation but not data. Of course do not rebuild your array!
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Author Closing Comment

by:settc
ID: 31675177
Hi there ! thanx for the reply.

But how do I create a bootable CD with the correct RAID drivers?

Also, I could try the reload method, but I have never had to do so and it'll be my first time. I did read somewhere that if i press f6, i will need the RAID drivers to be on a floppy disc instead? Is this true ?! And what do you mean by do not rebuild my array ?! Where during the reinstallation would I see this message ?

Thanx
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Author Comment

by:settc
ID: 26277809
Hi there ! thanx for the reply.

But how do I create a bootable CD with the correct RAID drivers?

Also, I could try the reload method, but I have never had to do so and it'll be my first time. I did read somewhere that if i press f6, i will need the RAID drivers to be on a floppy disc instead? Is this true ?! And what do you mean by do not rebuild my array ?! Where during the reinstallation would I see this message ?

Thanx

P/S: Sorry it's my first time using EE and by clicking the Accept the Solution meant that my question has been closed?
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Expert Comment

by:Fayaz
ID: 26277851
Can I ask you to unplug the network cable from the machine and try to login?
If that doesnt work, download slax os and use it.
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Author Comment

by:settc
ID: 26278359
yes, even tried to unplug from network and tried to login in, via domain, directory restore mode, safe mode and safe mode with networking...even tried boot logging.

before i can try to install another OS, i need to at least install windows back into the server, not necessary need to reinstall it as a server even for now, but just to access the files in extract it out then reconfigure back to original setup or can even look into slax os

Or are u saying that if i install slax now i can retrieve my data ?

this is my one and only chance to recover the data as there are not backup on this data
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