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Rebooting a Domain Controller

Posted on 2011-03-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a single domain controller running on Windows 2003 Server.

I would like to schedule this server to be rebooted on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Are they any pre-requisites to be taken prior to re-booting the DC?

What should I check for, once the server has been re-booted?
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Question by:ben1211
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by:bwiser1
ID: 35143916
Ben1211,

I am happy to help. What are the roles of this DC? Does it house Exchange? I have to ask why you want to reboot it so often. Generally speaking, it's not something you should need to do so often.

I am guessing that you are performing updates and I would like to caution you that depending on your roles, doing so can cause serious problems if you do not exercise caution. It would be my recommendation you do not set Auto updates to enable (if they are)

In regards to shutting down, you will want to have all your users logged out (You say it's the only DC so this is necessary) and any open shares etc.,

Being a server (especially a DC) this can take some time, so don't be suprised if it doesn't shutdown and come back up as quickly as you are normally used to.

If you can give us a little more detail we can further assist, but typically speaking, once the server is rebooted and you verify that file shares, e-mail, any databases or installed applications are running you should be all set.

Brandon
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arnold earned 250 total points
ID: 35143943
Why do you feel you have a need to reboot it on a schedule?
1) It is highly recommended to have at least two of them just in case one fails.
2) make sure you have a DR plan such as backing up the system state which includes the AD and make sure you can restore on a separate system that is not connected to the network to make sure you can recover should it go down.
3) Depending on what exists on your network i.e. applcations/services that rely on the AD and the DC for functionality will stop once the DC is unavailable such that the question is how long can your DC be down?

You have to know what depends on the DC. Usually, there isn't a specific thing you have to check when you reboot the DC.  You will be made aware of things rather quickly i.e. slow loggins. Services that rely on the DC might not function correctly.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 35143963
I agree - rebooting once per month for patching should be more than enough... I've let Windows servers (somewhat accidentally) stay up for nearly a year and they worked flawlessly... now it DOES depend what services you run and third party apps because something could behave badly, but the box I mentined that ran for nearly a year ran (still runs) Exchange, IIS, Virtual Server 2005, and SQL 2000 as well as anti-spam software...
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by:ben1211
ID: 35144848
On this DC, I have Lotus Notes running, DHCP and DNS. That's about it.
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by:bwiser1
ID: 35147117
I want to applaud Arnold & Leew, A backup plan is definitely something you should be concerned about, if you don't have one. That was a large error on my part. The worst thing that can happen is shutting down your only DC only to have it not come back up. Having a successful backup plan should be your first concern.

Once you have that out of the way, I would shut down Lotus Notes Server (I can only guess that it's not the client side software) and again make sure that all your users are logged out. Once you have accomplished that, if you are certain that's all that's on it, then you could proceed to perform the reboot and wait for it to come up.

Again, after it's been rebooted, you will want to make sure that your other clients are getting IP addresses, access to the web and of course your Lotus Notes app is back up.
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by:arnold
ID: 35147352
IMHO, it is unnecessary to have everyone logout for updating/rebooting the DC provided the users are made aware that access to their email will be down.

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by:ben1211
ID: 35154332
Ok guys....I have no idea how to shut down Lotus Notes server and bring it up after that.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35155756
Lotus notes is not my area of expertise, but I would expect it's just a service or few... have you looked in Services and just tried stopping them?

Of course, I'm not sure why your doing any of this... and when you reboot the server, the services are stopped anyway...
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by:arnold
arnold earned 250 total points
ID: 35157084
The reboot process goes through notifying applications/services that then need a shutdown/restart is in process and they need to exit.  The system will wait for a short time for all to exit. After sometime, 3-5 minutes, the sticky apps will be forced to stop and the system will reboot.
It also depends on what means you use to shutdown/restart. Some will have the a process does not respond do you want to end the task now or wait messages?
if you hit the restart following windows update, I think it will force things to exit without prompting.
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by:ben1211
ID: 35177485
Ok Guys, so since its a graceful shutdown the services go down normally and would come up normally too. In terms of a DC, is there anything to check once the server is up, to confirm its in good health?
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 35177507
Just the event logs... and if a service failed to start, you'd be prompted...

Otherwise, you COULD run a DCDIAG... but unless you were experiencing problems on a regular basis, doing that kind of diagnostic after a reboot would be like giving yourself a physical exam each morning... will it hurt anything, no... but would almost anyone who would not meet the clinical definition of hypochondriac consider it excessive?  Yes.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35177512
And I would dare say checking the event logs without cause (other than a reboot) would be akin to taking your blood pressure and pulse each morning... again... not a bad idea... but MOST people don't do it.
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