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Backing up Domain controller

By adamtechpro ·
I have a 100 percent Windows 2000 network and I currently have ten servers all using 2000 advanced server. I have 2 domain controllers. One is on my primary subnet which is most important (about 100 users), and I have a second DC on a smaller secondary subnet at a remote location that maitains about 10 clients or so. My Domain controller on my primary subnet currently handles the following tasks - DNS,DHCP,Wins, Active directory (obviously), Terminal Services licensing and all of the group policy i have set up was established on this controller. Now to the question - I am currently backing up system state once a week on my domain controllers but I am assuming that this is not enough. To my knowledge system state will only recover AD,DNS registry settings and wins. ON that note, Does it make sense to just backup the whole C drive and if it craps out replace the drive and restore the whole drive from backup?? To me that seems like you could run into trouble. This is what I think i have to do, but I want some feedback as to if there are more effective methods. Run system state backup which covers AD,DNS, wins (i think) and registry settings. Backup group policy via GP msc. Backup DHCP via DHCP msc. Store these 3 files on a remote computer and run these backups once a week. (maybe not GP settings because i dont make alot of changes) A secondary question is, if i have my other DC online could i just replicate from that? And a third question, would a backep suite like backup-exec make more sense here?
Any thoughts??
Thanks for any insight and feeback on my questions.

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by BFilmFan In reply to Backing up Domain control ...

I'd advise that you look at this article on using Volume Shadow Copy and Virtual Disk to recover AD at

Also make sure to do a full backup of the SYSVOL to get the GPO information.

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by ewgny In reply to Backing up Domain control ...

I image all of my servers & DC's C drive every night to Disk. In turn my file by file backup backs up those images to tape. Some say that it's overkill, but since I have the tools why not. I use Ultrabac, but I'm sure other major vendors must have similar imaging capabilities.
It's nice to know that a DC can be restored in minutes after a hardware failure repair.
You also may want to install DHCP on another server with an identical configuration, and just don't authorize it. If the DC that has DHCP fails,
all you would have to do is authorize the backup DHCP server, while you repair the DC

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by ewgny In reply to

I image backup the C: Drive on 7 servers in 1hour and 15 minutes, then my scheduled file by file backup runs. There is no real "easy" way to restore to disimilar hardware with any type of backup. I consider the server imaging, disaster recovery. Instead of trying to move a DC to new hardware, it would be better to transfer the FSMO
roles to the other DC and make sure the other DC is a global catalog. Then DCPromo down the server to be retired and remove it. Install a fresh OS on the new hardware and DCPromo the new server up.

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by adamtechpro In reply to Backing up Domain control ...

Thanks for the reply guys. Imaging if definetly a good method to backing up, I use it a home. My only question is the length of the time it takes to backup. I'd have to imagine it takes a large amount of time, however if its overnight who cares i suppose. How long does your average full image take on one of your domain controllers? Another dilemma with imaging is the hardware specific image your making. Let say upon a crash you decide to swith to a more powerful server, you may have a problem there. Although for immediate recovery you are correct, it would be quite effective. I currently have another domain controller on another subnet, they are fully connected subnets however im assuming DC's wont hanlde DHCP request from a different subnet.(i could be wrong) So I may yet decide to install DHCP and just not authorize it as per your suggestion. Either way, thanks for the replys :)

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by voldar In reply to Backing up Domain control ...

The easy way to do is using the ntbackup from Windows. About "how much time does it take?", it depends on your data you want to save. It can be from 20 minutes up to 2 hours, depending on what transfer speed you have between your hardware components and the amount of data you want to store. Best practice: save system state, C: and (if you have any, and you should).

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