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System State Recovery - Server 2003

Posted on 2012-08-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-10-08
I recently experienced a server failure, on one of our legacy servers. A ML150 G2 hosting Server 2003 Standard Edtion sp1. I've been completing full backups daily using Symantec Backup Exec 12.0, and selected the system state, as this server is a domain controller. I followed Symantec's instructions with regards to the recovery, but this caused the OS to become corrupted , after logging on nothing worked, and I got loads of error messages. My question is did i go wrong by re-installing the server with Standard Edition R2, instead of Standard Edition SP1? Was I suppose to backup the entire C: drive, as well as the system state? (is that necessary). I followed Symantec's instructions, I didnt join it to a domain, or re-install Active Directory. I installed Backup exec, ran the inventory and catalog of the tape in directory restore mode, it completed successfully, restore successful too. I restarted then bam, the os loaded at first then crashed on a reboot.I need to figure out what went wrong, as i only backup system states for my domain conrollers. Are there other Pre-requisites  that are required to be backed up besides just the System State.
Question by:TTAF3
  • 2
LVL 47

Assisted Solution

David earned 500 total points
ID: 38302883
This is the reason that one MUST do a recovery to know if the backup strategy is sound, so #1 on your list of things to do is actually yank the disk drives and controller for protection, and restore onto a different controller using scratch drives (or a usb-attached scratch drive).

So enough of the lecture ...
You really need to back up EVERYTHING unless you know for a fact that certain files are never necessary.   (But if you know that now, then why not delete them now and forever?)

You need to make sure that your backup software is able to back up SQL databases and deal with opened files.  The only way to know about that is to talk to symantec, as such things are always a moving target.  Maybe the revision of your software can't deal with a service pack or patch that was added after your software was released?

System state is vital, BTW.

Personally, since this is a DC, you REALLY need to handle this differently.  Create a virtual machine on a RAID-equipped server that has some free RAM, and then make that VM start automatically and be a secondary DC.   If your DC dies and you are in an active directory environment then all heck can break loose.  A DC doesn't need a lot of anything to run and there is no reason, other than licensing costs, to cost justify not having another one online 24x7.
LVL 81

Accepted Solution

arnold earned 500 total points
ID: 38302949
One should not restore from backup DCs when an existing one is available.

Yes, you must install the same version of the OS that existed on the DC.
There are schema changes that are added with the win2k3 r2.
Since you likely did not run addprep for the schema updates, the win2k3 r2 will likely have an issue with the system state you are restoring.

Reinstall win2k3, and the system state should bring your dc back to life ( only if this is the sole DC in the environment)

If there are ther DCs in the environment, you can seize the roles using one of the existing DCs using ntdsutils tool.
Then after the OS reinstall, you can add the server back using dcpromo as another DC.

Author Comment

ID: 38315258
Hello Arnold, i will attempt the restore as you suggest an revert once completed.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 38472699
Hi guys thanks for your assistance. Since i could not resolve this issue; i decided on awarding points to both parties.

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