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Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 or 2012.

Posted on 2013-01-30
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Is it possible to take a backup of Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 or 2012 and backup data, AD(Active Directory), user, groups, permission and all relevant information to that backup, then build a new machine and simply restore this and it be up and running?

Example, backup all mentioned from a W2k3 server and restore to W2k8 R2 and it retain all users, groups, permission throughout directory structures etc.?

If so, where can I educate myself on this?
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Question by:Harold
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by:anotherjallen
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What I would do is build a new Server 2008 R2 or 2012 and then run DCPromo to make it a domain controller.  Then let the AD data replicate over to the new server and once that is done use DCPromo on your 2003 server to remove the DC role on it.

There is also documentation out there for AD backup and restore.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727048.aspx
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by:Harold
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What if you didn't have the original live server and just a backup?
I don't think Active Directory restore, restores permissions does it, like the directory tree permissions.
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by:anotherjallen
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I don't think it is.

The problem here is that I know that MS does not recommend just restoring a domain controller.  Is this a single DC in a domain or is there more than one?  Also what kind of backup do you have?  Is it a full backup of the entire server?
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by:Harold
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This was a problem I faced and I am trying to do some home for a When this happens again, how to prepare.
This happened to be Carbonite, but I have different clients on different backup solutions.

I know if I backup System State and or Active Directory, this is not enough. Thankfully it was a small configuration with a couple of groups and few permissions to rebuild, but I could not imagine how you could figure out all the permissions, say for 20 depts with all depts having different levels of security and access to certain areas and how you keep track to rebuild fast.
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anotherjallen earned 300 total points
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Okay, got it.

I would start by using NTBackup in server 2003:
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/ntbackup_command.mspx?mfr=true

And Windows Server backup in server 2008:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc754572(v=ws.10).aspx

From what I am reading though you cannot backup a 2003 server and restore to a 2008 server.

You mentioned that the system state didn't restore everything, I am assuming you are speaking from experience....
I though the System State is what needs to be backed up if you intend to do a restore, and it included quite a bit that you have to ensure is all there.  It includes:
The Local Registry
COM+ Class Registration Database
System Boot Files
Certificates (any installed)
Cluster Database (if installed)
NTDS.DIT
Sysvol folder

If any are missing it will not work.

On that note, I think best case is to always make sure you have a full backup of your DC that hosts the Global Catalog, and if it ever fails just do a complete restore.  Then you do not have to worry about loosing anything.  If you have more than one DC this gets easier, unless EVERY DC goes down, in which case you still only restore the GC and then build new ones from scratch and let them replicate.

I do hope this helps!
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