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System State data

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

System State data

With Backup, you can back up and restore the following system components to back up the System State:

 

Component When this component is included in System State?

Registry

Always

COM+ Class Registration database

Always

Boot files, including the system files

Always

Certificate Services database

If it is a Certificate Services server

Active Directory directory service

If it is a domain

SYSVOL directory

Only if it is a domain controller

Cluster service information

If it is within a cluster

IIS Metadirectory

If it is installed

System files that are under Windows File Protection

Always

Backup refers to these system components as the System State data. The exact system components that make up your computer's System State data depend on the computer's operating system and configuration.

Windows XP Professional

The System State data includes only the registry, COM+ Class Registration database, files under Windows File Protection, and boot files.

Windows Server 2003 family operating systems

The System State data includes the registry, COM+ Class Registration database, files under Windows File Protection, and system boot files. Depending on the configuration of the server, other data may be included in the System State data. For example, if the server is a certificate server, the System State will also contain the Certificate Services database. If the server is a domain controller, Active Directory and the SYSVOL directory are also contained in the System State data.

Backing up System State data

When you choose to back up or restore the System State data, all of the System State data that is relevant to your computer is backed up or restored; you cannot choose to back up or restore individual components of the System State data. This is due to dependencies among the System State components. However, you can restore the System State data to an alternate location. If you do this, only the registry files, SYSVOL directory files, Cluster database information files, and system boot files are restored to the alternate location. The Active Directory directory services database, Certificate Services database, and COM+ Class Registration database are not restored if you designate an alternate location when you restore the System State data.

Restoring Active Directory

If you have more than one domain controller in your organization and the Active Directory directory service is replicated to any of these other servers, you may have to authoritatively restore any Active Directory data that you want to restore. To do this, run the Ntdsutil utility after you have restored the System State data, but before you restart the server on the network. Run this utility only while the server is in Directory Services Restore Mode. With the Ntdsutil utility, you can mark Active Directory objects for authoritative restore. This utility ensures that any replicated or distributed data that you restore is properly replicated or distributed throughout your organization.

For example, if you inadvertently delete or modify objects stored in the Active Directory directory service, and those objects are replicated or distributed to other servers, you will need to authoritatively restore those objects so they are replicated or distributed to the other servers. If you do not authoritatively restore the objects, they will never get replicated or distributed to your other servers because they will appear to be older than the objects currently on your other servers. Using the Ntdsutil utility to mark objects for authoritative restore ensures that the data you want to restore gets replicated or distributed throughout your organization. On the other hand, if your system disk has failed or the Active Directory database is corrupted, then you can simply restore the data nonauthoritatively without using the Ntdsutil utility.

The Ntdsutil command line utility can be run from the command prompt. Help for the Ntdsutil utility can also be found at the command prompt by typing ntdsutil /?.

Notes

  • System State data contains most elements of a system's configuration, but it might not include all of the information that you require to recover your system from a failure. Therefore, it is recommended that you back up all boot and system volumes, including the System State, when you back up your system.

  • Although you cannot change which components of the System State are backed up, you can back up all of the protected system files with the System State data by setting advanced backup options.

  • To restore the System State data on a domain controller, you must first start your computer in Directory Services Restore Mode. This will allow you to restore the SYSVOL directory and the Active Directory.

  • You can only back up and restore the System State data on a local computer. You cannot back up and restore the System State data on a remote computer.

For more information, see Back up System State data.

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