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Installing a Domain Controller in an Existing Domain Using Restored Backup Media

Updated: December 5, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

When you install Active Directory from restored backup media, you can reduce the replication traffic that is initiated during the installation of an additional domain controller in an Active Directory domain. Reducing the replication traffic reduces the time necessary to install the additional domain controller.

The procedures in this task are particularly useful for installing domain controllers in remote sites. By using these procedures, you can avoid having to either replicate the entire Active Directory replica over a wide area network (WAN) link or disconnect an existing domain controller while it is being shipped to the remote site. If you are installing additional domain controllers in remote sites and you want to minimize the Active Directory and SYSVOL replication that is required during the installation from backup media, use the information in this topic in conjunction with the information in Adding Domain Controllers in Remote Sites.

When the domain controller that you are installing will be a Domain Name System (DNS) server and you are using Active Directory–integrated DNS zones, the DomainDNSZones and ForestDNSZones application directory partitions are not included in the restored backup media by default. If you want to include application directory partitions in the restored backup media that is used to install Active Directory, additional procedures are required to complete the installation task. Follow the instructions for including application directory partitions in the installation media.

Task requirements

To begin the task to install a domain controller from restored backup media without application directory partitions, ensure that the following requirements are met:

  • A Windows Server 2003–based domain controller must be running in each domain where you will be performing installations from backup media.

  • The restored system state backup that is used to create additional domain controllers must be taken from a domain controller in the same domain as the new additional domain controller.

  • The server that is being installed as a domain controller must be running Windows Server 2003, and the version must be the same as the domain controller from which the backup was taken. For example, you cannot use backup media from a domain controller running Windows Server 2003 to create a domain controller running Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1). The reverse is also true.

  • The restored system state backup that is used to create additional domain controllers must be taken on a domain controller that matches the processor type of the new domain controller. System state backups that are taken on a domain controller that has a 32-bit processor cannot be used to install a domain controller that has a 64-bit processor. The reverse is also true.

  • During Active Directory installation, Dcpromo checks that the value of the tombstone lifetime in the restored system state backup matches the value on an existing domain controller. If you plan to change the value of the tombstone lifetime, change this value before you create the backup.

  • If the domain controller that you are creating is to be a global catalog server, the system state backup that you restore must be taken from an existing global catalog server in the domain.

On servers that are running Windows Server 2003 with SP1, you can use restored backup media to install a domain controller that is a DNS server (stores the DomainDNSZones and ForestDNSZones application directory partitions) or that stores other application directory partitions. In addition to the previous requirements, to begin the task to install a domain controller from restored backup media that includes application directory partitions, ensure that the following requirements are met:

  • The forest functional level has been raised to Windows Server 2003.

  • The domain controller on which you created the system state backup is running Windows Server 2003 with SP1.

  • The domain controller on which you created the system state backup contains the application directory partitions that you want to include.

  • The server computer that you are installing is running Windows Server 2003 with SP1.

  • You have created an answer file that contains the distinguished names (or * for all names) of the application directory partitions that you want to include.

The following tools are required to perform the procedures for this task:

  • Ntbackup.exe

  • Dcpromo.exe

  • Ref.chm or Unattend.txt file, or both, for installations that include application directory partitions.

To complete this task, perform the procedures for the following methods:

  1. Back up system state

    Back up the system state of an existing domain controller according to the requirements described above.

  2. As an option, before you restore the backup, copy the .bkf file to a CD, DVD, or other removable media from which you will subsequently restore the backup to an alternate location on the local hard drive of the server on which Active Directory is being installed. You can use this media to restore the same backup to any number of servers that will be installed as domain controllers. With this method, you restore the backup for each domain controller that you install. Compare this method to method 3.2, in which you restore the backup only once and copy the restored files to the removable media.

  3. Restore system state to an alternate location

    Select the location for the system state backup that you will use to install a new domain controller. Use one of the following locations for restoring the system state backup:

    • Restore the .bkf file to a volume on the server that will be installed as a domain controller. We recommend restoring to a folder named \NTDSRESTORE on the volume that will host the Ntds.dit file when Dcpromo is run, if space permits. Otherwise, restore to a folder named \NTDSRESTORE on a volume that has sufficient free space. For additional criteria regarding the volume on which you restore the backup, see Adding Domain Controllers in Remote Sites.

    • Restore the .bkf file to the local hard drive of any computer, and then burn the expanded restore tree to a CD, DVD, or other removable storage media. Install Active Directory directly from this media. You can use this media to directly install any number of domain controllers. With this method, you restore the backup only once.

  4. Install Active Directory from media.

    Install the domain controller from the system state backup that you restored in step 3 by using one of the following methods:

See Also

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