Reformat SBS 2003 / Recover Active Directory


We have a SBS 2003 that is flakey.

The hardware is fine, but what we want to do is reformat the HD, reinstall SBS 2003, and recover AD and Exchange.

We basically want as little downtime as possible and don't want to rejoin all of the computers to a new domain, mess with local computer profiles, etc.

I saw some answers on some posts that were a few years old, nothing conclusive.

Can it be done?

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
There are a couple of options and things to consider:

1.  You can use a product like UTOOLS' UMOVE to "migrate" AD to the new server - I've never used it and frankly view it as a last ditch effort so, I wouldn't recommend this be your first choice.  (Maybe it's a better fit than I think... but that's how I view it)
2.  The more simple method - install a second DC.  Make the second DC your DNS Server, FSMO Master DC, Global Catalog and then demote and remove the SBS server.  Wipe.  Reinstall referencing this document: - you can probably do this with a demo of Server 2008 R2 if you don't have a Server 2003 system handy - you will have to update the schema for any other version of Windows that is newer, but that should not have an adverse reaction with the SBS system.

Regardless of which method you go with, MAKE A FULL BACKUP before hand.  Things should not be a problem - but you never know when they WILL be a problem.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
How is the server flaky and how have you determined it's not hardware?
Tom-J-LaelAuthor Commented:
We get an error;

Faulting application wmiprvse.exe, version 5.2.3790.3959, faulting module ntdll.dll, version 5.2.3790.3959, fault address 0x0001a379.

Roughly every 10 seconds. I found where other people experienced the same problem but never found anything conclusive about how to fix it.

The server will occasionally lock up and the hardware is all relatively new.

For good measure, we'd like to reinstall windows from scratch and just put all the data back in place.

I was under the impression that we can restore AD from a system state backup? Is there a process for that?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
A system state backup would likely restore your problem too.  

Have you tried running SFC /SCANNOW on the server (have your CDs handy).

Are you using Exchange?  If so, it's not quite as easy as slapping the old Exchange Database into a newly rebuilt server...
Tom-J-LaelAuthor Commented:
We have not tried SFC /SCANNOW . What ramifications might we experience by doing that?

We do use Exchange.

We're at a lost, what process what you take?
Tom-J-LaelAuthor Commented:
at a loss, even....  =)
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
SFC /SCANNOW checks critical system files to ensure they are not corrupt and it is supposed to replace them.  I've seen it work successfully.  I've also seen it perpetually insist that the CD you entered is not the correct one and prompt you endlessly.  IT hasn't specifically prevented me from using the system, but it has been an annoyance.

You're going to have to backup Exchange and, frankly, to be safe, I would export your mailboxes to PST files as a backup before hand.  

I would suggest you attack this in one of two ways - and frankly, neither are free.

1.  Call Microsoft.  A support incident, last I checked was $245.  I hold them to a standard - if they can't show me where I would have gone to learn the solution they present, I get it refunded.  I've called them perhaps 2 dozen times... and been refunded about HALF the time.  
2.  Treat this as a swing migration.  Get the SwingMigration kit from Jeff Middleton - and swing your install onto a new box (or back onto the old one). The kit, if I'm not mistaken is $225 +/- $25.
Tom-J-LaelAuthor Commented:
This stinks..if I have to export everyone's mailboxes to PST then I might as well rejoin to a new domain...
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Do you HAVE TO... probably not... you might be able connect the store in the recovery storage group and pull out the mailboxes... but while Exchange recovery is something I've done a few times, it's not something I've done weekly or monthly.... When it comes to these things, I'm conservative.... Make all the backups you can in every way while you have a working system - ESPECIALLY if you plan to break it.
Tom-J-LaelAuthor Commented:

you've been very helpful, but one last question before I award you the points.

Let's say, hypothetically, the server was a complete hardware failure, but my system state backups, data backups, etc. were all ok.

Let's also say there's no secondary DC.

How would I recover Active Directory to a new SBS 2003 install ? At what point during the install of SBS 2003 do I do the recovery?

Exchange I feel like I can handle. I have some experience with that.

Active Directory though, I don't. Whenver we've had a catastrophic failure, we've always rebuilt the domain from scratch, and that sucks, I don't want to do it anymore.

thanks again for all your help!
Tom-J-LaelAuthor Commented:
just FYI...

The reason I ask is for future reference, and I'm going to test to see if restoring system state to a new build does indeed bring over the same application error's we're experiencing currently.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:

You would install SBS on the clean hardware (same hardware spec) and then immediately after the initial install, you would use NTBackup to restore the existing backups.  (NTBackup cannot be run outside of Windows and so you need a working install of Windows to restore to.
Tom-J-LaelAuthor Commented:

Maybe I wasn't descript enough.

I want to restore Active Directory exclusively.

So, First do the complete install of SBS ? All the way through installing Exchange etc?

At what point do I recover active directory? What steps do I take to do so?

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I definitely object - the asker states when he initially asked the question:
The hardware is fine, but what we want to do is reformat the HD, reinstall SBS 2003, and recover AD and Exchange.
Which was answered throughout and especially with comment 29115664

Then, in the last comment (which I didn't see until now), he seems to change his mind:
Maybe I wasn't descript enough.I want to restore Active Directory exclusively.
And to answer this NEW question, I don't know.  When I install SBS I install Exchange.  I have never had a reason to attempt this. Presumably you would not restore/attempt restore of the information store and/or use uTools.

Further, as per comment 29106841:
you've been very helpful, but one last question before I award you the  points.
So I guess I get NOTHING since I had been "VERY HELPFUL"

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