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Windows Server 2003 Won't Finish Booting

Posted on 2014-04-02
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a Dell PowerEdge 1800 Server running Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition and it on boot-up seems to be stuck on a screen that says "The Active Directory is rebuilding indices. Please wait."

How can I can it past this screen?

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:anuneznyc
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Expert Comment

by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 39972110
First off, I'd let that process run for a very long time before I tried to side-step it.

If you're sure it's not going to finish on its own, you can boot to Directory Services Restore Mode and see if you can fix it that way.
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by:YoursJitu
YoursJitu earned 200 total points
ID: 39972112
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by:YoursJitu
ID: 39972115
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39972133
Thanks Guys. This has been running for over 13 hours now.
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by:YoursJitu
YoursJitu earned 200 total points
ID: 39972193
Tried below ?

.To boot quickly you can login to DSRM mode and create below registry key.

Open - HKEY_LOCAL _MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\RpcSs
and create multistring value as "DepenOnService" and add value as "Eventlog". Then reboot in normal mode this will fix the issue.In case if this does not fix the issue you need to repair the AD Database.

As per the articles given above?
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Expert Comment

by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 39972197
Unless you have a particularly large AD database, 13 hours is more than enough.  I'd give the Restore Mode a try.  

On that note, however, I hope you have good backups.  You may need them.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39972665
Hey Guys. Just booted into Directory Services Restore Mode and it is not accepting the Adminstrator PW.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39972668
Does this mean Active Directory is totally hosed?
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39972681
Guess I'll see if I can boot off a UBCD to try to reset the Admin PW.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39972730
F'ing Hell! The CD-ROM drive won't open, so now I have no way to boot off my UBCD boot disk.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39972779
I was able to pry the CD-ROM open and booted off the UBCD and reset the Admin PW. However, I still can't log in when I boot into Directory Services Restore Mode.

Will try again w/ UBCD, this time blanking out the Admin PW, instead of resetting it.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39972840
Nope. Blanked out the Admin PW but I still cannot log in. I'm totally screwed here.

Anybody got any ideas?
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Expert Comment

by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 39972938
If you don't have a backup of your AD database, you may be in trouble.  

Can you boot to a command prompt and run CHKDSK, FIXBOOT, and/or FIXMBR?
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39973049
Tried booting to Safe Mode Command Prompt but it seemed to get stuck on "Starting Windows."

The only place I seem to be able to boot is to Directory Services Restore Mode but then I'm stuck b/c it won't accept the Admin PW. At the very least it does start DHCP so the two users (this is a very small office) can access the internet. DHCP was set to run off the server rather than the router.

Not that it probably means much, but when I try to use the "guest" account, it does give me the message that "Your account has been disabled. Please see your system administrator."

At this point is my only option to try to do a repair install of Server 2003 from CDs? I'm not even sure if we have the CDs anymore?
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Assisted Solution

by:Paul MacDonald
Paul MacDonald earned 300 total points
ID: 39973204
Guest account is disabled by default as a safety measure.  You should be able to log in as any account with Domain Administrator privileges however.

Even trying to repair the installation won't guarantee you can recover AD, but if that's all you have left, it's worth a shot.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39973255
Is it possible to do a "repair" type install of Server 2003 like in Windows XP?

Or am I going to have re-install the OS from scratch?

Where does Server 2003 keep the AD database files? Maybe I can see if I have a recent backup. But I doubt it.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Paul MacDonald earned 300 total points
ID: 39973500
It is possible to repair the installation, but it sounds like AD is corrupt moreso than an OS issue.

It probably won't hurt to try a repair, but don't get your hopes up.

The AD database is stored in %SystemRoot%\ntds by default.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39975746
A friend of mine loaned me a disk called "MS Windows Server 2003 Diagnostic Tools." Going to try to boot off that CD and see if there is an AD repair utility on it.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39978316
Well, in the end nothing worked and we've decided to decommission this server anyway.

Now that there will be no more server or domain, I should probably change the workstations from domain over to workgroup setting, right?

If I'm not mistaken, the locally cached domain login credentials on the 2 workstations will eventually expire if they can't authenticate to a domain and then prevent the users from logging in.
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Assisted Solution

by:Paul MacDonald
Paul MacDonald earned 300 total points
ID: 39978455
"Now that there will be no more server or domain, I should probably change the workstations from domain over to workgroup setting, right?"
Yes

"If I'm not mistaken, the locally cached domain login credentials on the 2 workstations will eventually expire if they can't authenticate to a domain and then prevent the users from logging in."
Yes, but it won't much matter once they're pulled from the domain.

Sorry we couldn't solve the problem for you!
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39984974
Thanks for the effort, Guys. Appreciate it.

In the end, we are better off moving into a workgroup setup anyway.

I will assign points & close shortly.
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Author Closing Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 40024135
Thanks Guys.
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