disaster recovery of domain controller with AD

I am practicing with doing a recovery of our 2 domain controllers with AD running Windows 2003 STD. What I am doing for the back is to use ntbackup to backup AD and then Acronis True Image server with Universal Restore to image the servers. That parts easy. The next step I am trying is to set up another server that is dissimilar to the original servers and installing vmware server. I then use Acronis to conver the tib file to a vmdk. I then create a virtual server by using the vmdk file. I can get the server to boot but it say I need to activate Windows. I cannot get around unless I call MS and get a new activation. Any ideas on this? Also, When I do have the server up and running in a virtual environment how would I update AD from the ntbackup?  When i try to a ntbackup restore from the original server backup, it restores but then restarts and blue screens. How do you do a restore to update the AD from the ntbackup?

Hope this makes sense, it's all just practicing and learning...

Thanks
clynch302Asked:
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ronny2479Commented:
For uploading you AD image to another server or PC do the following.

1. IF you upload your AD image to same server (hardware must be same), it will work fine.
2. If you upload your AD image to a different server or PC, asually it will not work. After uploading the image you have to restore system state. All hardware drives  will be installed 1 by 1 and it will work.
:)
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clynch302Author Commented:
2. If you upload your AD image to a different server or PC, asually it will not work. After uploading the image you have to restore system state. All hardware drives  will be installed 1 by 1 and it will work.

This is what I am doing. After the image is restore on a different system, I do a system state restore form the AD backup but the server becomes unboot-able with a BSD. I know the system state restore is restoring registry files and such from the old server which is causing it to crash.
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Mike KlineCommented:
Restoring to different hardware can be a crapshoot at best,  not sure if you have seen this TechNet article

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;263532

If one DC goes down it would be much easier just to do a metadata cleanup and rebuild.  What would suck if they both went down at the same time and then you are dealing with a forest recovery.

Thanks

Mike
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clynch302Author Commented:
Ya, I just want to know how to do this in a worst case scenario. I am in Southern Cali and with all the earthquakes the bosses were asking questions.
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Mike KlineCommented:
You would use the article there with a system state. Won't blow smoke I haven't tested or tried your method with True image server.

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clynch302Author Commented:
I was able to get the acronis image up and running but I had to call MS and BS them to give a new activation. But it did work. I would just need to update AD with any changes.
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clynch302Author Commented:
I just used a utility called UMOVE and successfully restore AD to a different server. Once I did the AD restore I had to go in a seize the fsmo roles and do a metadat cleanup.(Not sure if this was necessary) This was all done in vmware. I brought up another Server 2003 and did a dcpromo and it joined fine and replicated successfully.

https://www.algintech.com/info.asp
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Mike KlineCommented:
So a lot of these programs will clone and work, but maybe are "officially" unsupported by Microsoft and you may run into issues with things like USN rollbacks (with snapshots/clones) http://blogs.technet.com/askds/archive/2009/06/05/dc-s-and-vm-s-avoiding-the-do-over.aspx

...however in the case you describe with a major earthquake bringing down the building anything that helps would come in hand.

Just make sure to also keep those backups well offsite for that scenario.

Thanks

Mike
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