Windows 2012R2 DC will not boot

CJ Parker
CJ Parker used Ask the Experts™
VMWare ESXi 6.7
Two 2012R2 DCs.  DC1 and DC2.  
DC1 is the Operations Master RID, PDC and Infrastructure
DC1 is not booting up properly.  It hangs at spinning dots "Please Wait"
I'm able to boot into Safe Mode.

DC2 is fine.  Have not tried to boot.  Users are authenticating through DC2.

What changed:
Upgraded from ESXi 6.0 to 6.7 latest version.  This past Monday, 12/30.
Enabled GPO System cryptography: Use FIPS compliant algorithms for encryption, hashing and signing.
Upgraded VMTools but not the compatibility, stayed at 6.0
Attempted to install the VMXNET3 nic instead of E1000.  Server went bananas, so I reverted changes.  Server still would not boot.
Restored server from last night's backup through Veeam
DC1 will only boot with this Please Wait.  Unless I cut it short and boot into safe mode.

What am I missing?
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Are both VMs on the same ESXi host server?

You should definitely be using VMXNet3 NIC instead of E1000. I'm not sure if this is causing your problems, but it could certainly contribute. What exactly happened when the server "went bananas"?  After adding the new virtual NIC, did you make sure that you configured it to have the original IP address, DNS settings, etc., so that the DC could function normally?

You may also want or need to upgrade the virtual machine version on the servers so that it is up to the current version for 6.7, depending on what version they were on before the upgrade.
CJ ParkerIT Admin


Both DCs are on separate servers.
When I changed the NICs, provided same IPs and rebooted, I couldn't get logged in.  Because it was getting late I had to get the server up, I reverted back.  I didn't delete the original NIC, just disabled it and disconnected it within the VM settings.  Because that didn't work.  I jumped on restoring the server from last night's backup.

Before I upgrade the compatibility, I have to check on the replication server we have offsite.  That server only goes as high as 6.5.

Right now, I just want to get the DC1 back up, then I'll worry about upgrades another day.

Something I tried just now.  Rebooted the server.  Tried going into DSRM.  When I get to the login prompt and enter the password, I get the spinning dots with Welcome.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

I would create a new DC, and seize the roles from DC1.

and delete DC1, what ever has been done has killed it.

I would not waste any more time to try to recover DC1.
IT Admin
I was able to get it up.  Here are my steps.
Rebooted into safe mode.  
In the Services tab, Disabled all services
Rebooted normally
Windows allows me to login as normal.
Went through each service and set appropriately and started accordingly.  I compared the list of services against the restored DC1 in my test environment.
Once all that was done, checked on the DC replication.  DCDIAG came back good with DC1 being online.  Although there were errors/warnings.  I was able to confirm Replication was under way.
That was last night.
This morning, I checked and DCDIAG came back all clean.

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