How to backup and restore Windows Server 2008 Domain Controller?


Active Directory Domain Services is the most significant and vital part of Windows infrastructure. When Active Directory is not available, Windows network is basically of no use. This is what makes Active Directory backup and recovery plan an important part of network, security and disaster recovery configuration. Microsoft has introduced two new features with Windows 2008 Sever, Windows server backup utility and Volume Shadow Copy service.

Active Directory Backup and Recovery Plan

With the introduction of Windows 2008, Microsoft has replaced NTBACKUP with Windows Server Backup utility. It took a while for the IT experts and businesses to accept the changes and new features of Windows Server Backup. Even though the backup utility has changed, Windows 2008 backup and recovery strategy for Active directory does not change a great deal.

Keep following points in mind while preparing your backup and recovery strategy:

Full System Backup: Schedule full systems backups periodically to recovery Domain Controller form hardware failures. Frequency of the backup depends on how much downtime you can afford and how frequent are your data changes.

System State Backup: Schedule daily System State backups to backup changes in your Active Directory. Frequency of the backup depends on how much downtime you can afford and how frequent are your data changes. You must take system state backup of at least two Domain Controllers in each domain just to make sure you have captures all the changes in Active Directory.

Offsite Backup: As part of disaster recovery, you should move these backups to an off-site location using removable storage media like optical storage or send data electronically through remote backup services, also known as electronic vaulting.

Install Windows Server Backup

1. Go to Start menu -- Select "Administrative Tools" --- Select "Server Manger".
2. From "Server Manager" window -- Click on "Add Features" link.
3. Select "Windows Server Backup Features" and "Command-line Tools"-- Click "Next".
4. Click "Install" to complete the installation.

Full Server Backup

1. Go to Start Select "Administrative Tools" - Click on Windows Server Backup.
2. From Actions pane on right -- Select "Backup Schedule" Click "Next".
3. Select "Full Server" -- Click Next. - (This is the recommended option)
4. Set your schedule -- Click "Next".
5. On the Specify Destination Type "Make your selection -- Click "Next".

Note: Select Destination disk page lets you select your backup device. You can select the desired hard drive or a network location. You will not be able to select an optical disk or removable media.

6. If you get format the disk warning Select Yes
7. Review Confirmation screen -- Click Finish .
8. Review Summary screen -- Click Close.

System State Backup

Following basic components are part of system state backup

Boot files, as well as system files
COM plus class registration database
System files in Windows File Protection

Important: When you are backing up a domain controller following components are also part of system state backup.

Active Directory Services
SYSVOL directory

1. Go to Start > Select Administrative Tools -- Select > Windows Server Backup.
2. From Actions pane on right -- Select Backup Schedule > Click Next.
3. Review Getting Started screen -- Click Next.
4. Select Custom -- Click Next.
5. On Select Items for Backup screen -- Click Add Items.
6. Click System State -- Click OK -- Click Next.
7. On Scheduling window -- Set or modify schedule -- Click Next.
8. Select backup destination type -- Click Next.
9. Select destination disk -- Click Next.
10. Review Confirmation screen -- Click Finish
11. Review Summary screen -- Click Close.

Perform a Bare-Metal Backup

This is a great backup option in case of disasters as it backs up system volume, system state and system reserved data.

For restore, you will need Windows 2008 R2 installation disk to boot the system into Windows Recovery environment.

1. Go to Start > Select Administrative Tools -- Select Windows Server Backup.
2. From Actions pane on right -- Select Backup Schedule > Click Next.
3. Review Getting Started screen -- Click Next.
4. Select Custom -- Click Next.
5. On Select Items for Backup screen -- Click Add Items.
6. Click Bare Metal Recovery -- click OK -- Click Next.
7. On Scheduling window -- Set or modify schedule -- Click Next.
8. Select backup destination type -- Click Next.
9. Select destination disk -- Click Next.
10. Review Confirmation screen -- Click Finish
11. Review Summary screen -- Click Close.

Bare-Metal Recovery of Windows 2008 the Domain Controller

1. Boot Windows Server 2008 using the Windows installation media.
2. Choose Repair your computer option.
3. Select the recovery option Windows Complete PC Restore.
4. Select Operating System you want to repair (normally there is only one choice)
5. WinRE lets you to select the backup from which you need to restore.
6. Select the most current and complete system backup.
7. Format and repartition all disk drives before the restore. In case you have replaced one or more damaged drives in the server.
8. After confirming a few prompts, WinRE starts the restore process.
9. After the restore is complete, the server reboots.

System State Recovery of Windows 2008 Domain Controller

1. Log into Windows 2008 Server as an administrator.
2. Click Start -- All Programs -- Administrative Tools -- Select System Configuration.
3. Select the Boot tab From Boot Options section -- Check the Safe Boot check box -- Select Active Directory Repair option button -- Click OK.
4. At this point System Configuration utility will prompt you to reboot the system. Click on Restart button to boot the system into DSRM.
5. After the reboot, login as administrator and enter your DSRM credentials. Make sure to identify the local server as the logon domain; for example, SRV1administrator instead of mydomainadministrator.
6. Click Start -- All Programs -- Accessories -- Select Command Prompt. Type wbadmin get versions -- Click Enter. This displays the list of backups (most recent backup is the last on the list).
7. In Command Prompt window, type wbadmin Start SystemStateRecovery version:xx/xx/xxxx-XX:XX and press Enter (Replace the date and time accordingly)

Note: For System State recovery with SYSVOL, type wbadmin Start SystemStateRecovery version: xx/xx/xxxx-XX:XX authsysvol command.

8. Type Y to accept the System State recovery -- press Enter to start the System State recovery.
9. System State recovery takes few minutes to complete. Do not reboot during this process.
10. Select Boot tab. In the Boot Options section -- uncheck Safe Boot check box -- Click OK to save the settings.
11. Reboot the domain controllers into normal Boot mode.

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice