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Win 2003 Domain Controller DOWN. its the only one! HELP

Posted on 2011-02-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I did some updates last night after installing a trial of Exchange Server 2007 on my Win2003 domain controller for small business. Now its in a boot loop goes to Windows logon screen and continually reboots. safe mode doesnt even work it reboots too, the last known good config never helped. and when i try the CD repair console it gets stuck at Examining ATAPI drive..... or what ever it says.

I am in DIRE need of getting this server up and running as of yesterday our entire network is down! PLEASE HELP it runs all DHCP and stores files for us too. small business i know. bad idea :(

i cant even log into safe mode to try a system restore or uninstall updates. im freaking out over here.
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Question by:mxrider_420
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by:mxrider_420
ID: 34970799
this is an emergency anyones help is appreciated...
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by:Amit
ID: 34971376
Any RAID on this box. Like Mirror, if it working?
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by:Ahmed786
ID: 34971399
Try to boot from the setup CD, ignore the first screen where is the R buttom for repair, press F8 in the EULA screen and press R for repair on the next screen if appears. If the R didn't appears on that screen, you've to make a clean, say: new installation of the OS. if the repair will works, it re installs the OS with keeping of your settings, drivers pp.

The only last option is to reinstall ur OS
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by:Amit
ID: 34971510
Ahmed is right...but check hardware issue first....i suspect some corruption in drives.
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by:mxrider_420
ID: 34971529
ok . thanks ill try that and keep you posted. should i try a fix MBR from a boot CD or something along those lines first? ...

* comment edited by ModernMatt - 24th February 2011 *
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by:JPetersen92020
ID: 34971643
Unplug your CD drive and reboot. If this fixes the issue then replace your CD drive.

Also, check to make sure that no USB drives are on the server as the server will try to boot from them.

Post results.
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by:Amit
ID: 34971649
I don't suggest to touch MBR, it can break everything is not fixed
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by:mxrider_420
ID: 34972119
I put in the windows install cd and it doesn't get past examining harddisks... I waited 25 minutes too. This is strange. I'm at whits end here. I need to recover this system theni can offload roles to others and then restore this one. But need to get to at minimum safe mode first :( any ideas on the examining disks area? It just stays there...
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by:Amit
ID: 34972397
Do you have RAID on this box?
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by:mxrider_420
ID: 34972715
No but I do have a RAID controller...its running on 1 drive.
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by:mxrider_420
ID: 34973120

Could it be that the entire reason its not booting is because the server dropped the harddrive for some odd reason?
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by:paulmacd
ID: 34973291
Not if it starts to boot at all (that is, you get the F8 menu and/or see the Windows logo start-up screen).  

In your case, a driver or some system .dll almost certainly go replaced with something broken or wrong such that the system can't boot because of it.  It must be something pretty low-level if you can't get in to Safe Mode because that's exactly what Safe Mode is designed for.

A decent option at this point is to strip all the non-essential hardware from the server and see if it will boot.  If that still doesn't work, you can try taking the boot drive to another computer and see if it boots there

If neither of those work, you can set aside the bad boot drive, install Windows on a new drive, then try to recover as much as possible from the old drive by adding it as a secondary drive in the new system.  

It goes without saying, but this is why you should have backups (and a second domain controller).

Best of luck!
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by:mxrider_420
ID: 34973421
i have a second domain controller but all the operations roles and dhcp resides on this one. as does the file storage. i think im going to start to try and load a raid driver see if i can get into recovery. in all my years if never seen something so brutal. got to love Windows ;) lol

ill keep you posted but i really think a repair might fix this. if only safe mode would work :( and yes i see the windows logo and get an option for F8. i took everything but the video card out. all LAN is onboard so its completely stripped down besides essentials.
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paulmacd earned 500 total points
ID: 34973727
Okay, well you can seize the FSMO roles from the downed DC.  At least that would get your network back up.  Then you could stick the disk drive in another machine so people can get to their files again.  That would buy you some time to rebuild the downed DC.

How to view and transfer FSMO roles in the graphical user interface:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/255690

How to view and transfer FSMO roles in Windows Server 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324801
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by:paulmacd
paulmacd earned 500 total points
ID: 34973767
I neglected to mention DHCP which, of course, can be set up on the other DC as well.  Ideally, you would split your scope between at least two servers so (like now) if one goes down, you can still hand out IP addresses:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc733059.aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc757346(WS.10).aspx
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/280473

Best of luck!
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by:mxrider_420
ID: 34974207
thanks so much. ill leave this open to keep you appraised. i think im going to invest in a used pair of HP DL360's might be worth it in the end.


ohh finally can i raise the masters roles on the other AD server without the other being present?

if i make the other primary it should fix us up for now then i just have to re create the DHCP (from my failing memory) lol oh and DNS
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by:paulmacd
ID: 34974253
Yes, that's called seizing the role.  The links I already posted should show you how.

And as before whe you re-create DHCP (and DNS) plan on having two servers fill the role so if you lose either one, you can still operate.  In the case of DHCP, it requires just a bit of planning but my links should be adequate.  DNS, in Active Directory, is very straightforward so there's seldom a reason to not make each domain controller a DNS server as well.
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by:mxrider_420
ID: 34974784
When i go to transfer the an errord that says "The transfer of the operations master role cannot be performed because the request FSMO operation failed. The current FSMO holder could not be contacted" "

 i went out and bought a Hp DL360 so i will be replacing this as the new primary once this is all resolved. but i need to get the roles transfered and its just not working. im pulling my hair out.

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by:mxrider_420
ID: 34974871
also ntdlr when i follow these instructions:http://www.petri.co.il/seizing_fsmo_roles.htm

it wont bind to the other DC because its broken. of course. is there a way to sieze the role without it being contacted?.

thanks so much i owe you!
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by:paulmacd
paulmacd earned 500 total points
ID: 34975122
Seizing, by definition, is what you do when the role holder isn't available.  Are you sure you're seizing the role and not just trying to transfer it?
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by:mxrider_420
ID: 34981282
I was able to sieze it afterall. and believe it or not it looks like it was something ironic. did a drive test and the drive has been failing. ran PC check and lifeguard for WD drives both report errors. could have been a bad HD that caused this so i am setting up a RAID array now with new drives. just trying to get the DHCP recovered now then DATA. but roles were forced siezed. now i cant even if i could recover the other system allow it back on the domain.
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by:paulmacd
paulmacd earned 500 total points
ID: 34981662
You may need these instructions to remove the other (failed) DC:
     http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555846

DHCP doesn't need recovery, per se, just set up a new scope on the working server.  Bear in mind what I mentioned about splitting the scope, so when you recreate the scope you should plan for that.
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by:mxrider_420
ID: 34982963
Im thinking of using DHCP failover instead of split pooling. is this MUCH more challenging to set up? im looking at a few things online and it seems more redundant
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by:paulmacd
paulmacd earned 500 total points
ID: 34983050
The advantage of split scopes is that they're both live all the time, though each part will contain fewer IP addresses.  You should procede as you see fit.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mxrider_420
ID: 34983282
Hard drive failed. no redundancy. learned my lesson. thanks everyone
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by:paulmacd
ID: 34983835
Backups too!  Always do backups.  And keep some off site!
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