SBS 2003 AD Restore?

I have a SBS 2003 server that is booting to some kind of directory services error. Hopefully the attached screen shout is readable. Not sure what to tell you other then the customer needs it running again. TO my knowledge they have no backups.
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LockDown32OwnerAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Dead technology, no backups, sigh!

Restart, and press F8 repeatedly. Can you start in Safe Mode?
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Alex Green3rd Line Server SupportCommented:
Right,

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/258062/directory-services-cannot-start-error-message-when-you-start-your-wind

That is a full guide on what you need to do, if you do not have a backup you cannot perform a restore, if you cannot perform a restore you're looking at a rebuild.
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Safe Mode stops with the same error. I can get in to Directory Services Restore mode.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Without a backup, you may need to rebuild the server. I do not think you can do a Repair Install with the Server 2003 media.
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Alex Green3rd Line Server SupportCommented:
You can't do a repair install, you can do a "Lossy" Repair of the database, but in that state it is unsupported. Since the OS isn't the fault here, the database is, you do have a significantly more difficult issue to resolve.

However, follow that guide, try the lossy repair, if you can't do that, rebuild and recreate.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
No backup? She's dead Jim.

I won't even rant that they are still on 2003. I'll just not-so-subtly hint that this is unacceptable. They get what they (didn't) pay for (unsupported OS, didn't pay for backups, etc)
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Alex Green3rd Line Server SupportCommented:
Cliff,

Whilst I agree with you, not entirely a helpful comment, again I agree with you, however simply stating that they should upgrade at the same time if they can't fix it would have been better.

I think they are going to be realizing the gravity of their situation soon enough.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
I disagree. Sometimes telling someone the truth that no backup is actually a dead server (given the evidence, a lossy database restore won't work) so being blunt about the situation is helpful.

Just because you don't appreciate my style doesn't  make it wrong.
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
The situation is almost humorous. I lost this customer about 4 years ago when they hired a new "VP of Administration" who was also going to take over the IT duties. 4 years ago I was begging them to get off of 2003 but they wouldn't budge. I did come to find out that they did migrate to 2012 but left one very, very important package running on this SBS 2003. They quit backing it up in 2016.

   I don't feel particularly sorry for them. They created their own mess but what the heck. It was a polite parting. All the NTDSUIL tests in the lossy repair pass with flying colors.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Indeed. I guess where I was going with "they get what the (didn't) pay for" is that I'd not give them a bargain or special rate just to keep (or win back) their business. They made that bed and will be paying for it now for all the money they saved before.
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
LOL! That is the only known!
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DrDave242Commented:
I did come to find out that they did migrate to 2012 but left one very, very important package running on this SBS 2003.

As part of that migration, did they promote a second domain controller, or is SBS the only DC they've got? If they have another DC (and replication has been working), fixing the AD database on the SBS server becomes less important. If they have a second DC and that "one very, very important package" is something that can be moved off of the SBS server while it's running in DSRM, then things aren't looking all that bad...
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I would treat this as a data recovery.  The server is dead.  If you can find an old backup (from when they presumably were backing it up), then try to restore that.  You might be able to recover/reset AD using tools like UTools UMove (though I've never used it myself, everyone I've ever recommended it to (and has used it) has loved it as far as I know). https://u-tools.com/u-move

I'd boot the system from another OS (Windows boot CD, Linux, etc.), transfer the data from that "important package" and try to rebuild it.  It might require a call to that company's support line to get things working - might even require an expensive upgrade.  But I have little sympathy for a company that fails to do backups AND uses technology that hasn't been supported in 5 years. They now must take responsibility for their actions (or inactions) if this data is important to them.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I would also use this as a sales tactic - they hadn't backed up a system in years and now this... what else aren't they doing?  Disasters have a way of making people re-evaluate and then fix (at least some of) what's broken.
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
This is really, really sad. The one program they so desperately needed actually worked in Directory Service Restore Mode so they are happy. I know they aren't going to backup or rush to get it off. Oh well. I get paid by the hour..... Thanks All.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thanks very much for the update.
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