Recovery of a Small Business Server 2003 R2 system

By lee ·
I have been tasked to possibly recover a SBS2003 R2 domain controller for a client who has been left in a very bad situation. Basically they have a SBS 2003 R2 system as their domain controller with Exchange Server 2003 configured, plus a 2003 Terminal Server. This two systems are located at their Head Office here in Victoria. They also have 3 out of state branch locations which of course use Terminal Services to access a company wide Logistics Software program which is the core of their day to day business operations. From what I have discerned about their situation is that their a lot off server issues occurring due to not being correctly deployed/setup in the first place which continually causes a multitude of problems for the corporate network such as inconsistent user logins, profile loss, missing data for no apparent reason, continual mobile user access issues and many many more problems which can't all be mentioned here. I have spent many hours trying to correct their many problems with only small headway. You fix one problem only to have 5 more raise their ugly head etc and your like a dog chasing it's tail with no end in site. In most cases, I would either try a restore from a backup which in their case is a no go. Again who ever setup their network systems & infrastructure needs to be taken outside and shot between the eyes! I mean talk about doing everything wrong is an understatement, they clearly did not know what they were doing at all. The client has critical software systems in place which they do own, but no one can locate the software media or licensing information for any of their stuff whatsoever. I have been able to correctly reconfigure about 50% of the problems on the server but most just will not go away or keep reappearing a short time later.I believe the Small Business Server is corrupted in a lot of areas to a point where I do not believe it can be fixed, which leads me to the point of what do I recommend to them now. The companies that they have purchased the relevant software from etc have been contacted and are in the process of sending out replacement software urgently but won't arrive until sometime next week. What I propose to do is to make a complete backup of their system as insurance for their data alone. Provide a temporary server with a freshly installed SBS2003 O/S configured correctly, move their exchange data and another data that they need, duplicate the AD setup etc, DHCP, DNS and any other components that's required. What problems does anyone see with what I am proposing to do? I know it's a lot more work for me, but once I have reconstituted their SBS2003 domain settings as close as I can possibly get them too, I will shut down their current server and bring on line the temporary server etc. I know their are going to be many issues for me to overcome like rejoining the current workstations and users to the new domain controller etc, but I believe that this can be overcome and sorted out. Once their software arrives I will install as required and reconstitute the specific data relevant to the software etc. Once everything is bedded down and running smoothly, I will again backup the server with Acronis software with universal restore and restore the image back to their server that has been reformatted. Then all I have to do is swap the servers out again and their done. I have managed to convince the client that at some stage in the very near future I recommend upgrading the server software to Small Business Server 2011 with Exchange 2010 while also deploying a Hyper-Server which will provide virtualization for current logistics software which can only run on a 32bit O/S and I will virtualize their their Terminal Server as well until we can implement Direct Access for the remote sites in each branch. If anyone can provide me with more advise on possible pitfalls to watch out for, a better plan of attack or an easier more timelier solution. My sole goal here is my new client. Not only do I want to help them in the quickest way possible, but I want them enjoy the considerable investment that they have expended in their network infrastructure and systems, but to also restore their seriously damaged confidence in I. T Solution providers. If this all goes well I will have developed a long term client relationship. I look forward to any advise at all, thank you.


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Recovery of a Small Business Server 2003 R2 system

by Subscriptions In reply to Recovery of a Small Busin ...

When you say "corporate network" I'm wondering if there aren't / Isn't an other domain or Forest involved and if this isn't part of the problem.

If you build a new SBS Domain on new Iron, then you will have to dis-join all the users from the old Domain and then join then to the new Domain, losing all their profiles or needing to F.A.S.T. migrate their profiles which will be time consuming and messy, and get you grief as users become particularly attached to their desktop and application configurations. That, on top of the issues of transferringthe Exchange mailboxes and Public folders via .pst tot he new Exchange server.

I would suggest that you do a "Swing Migration" to the new / Temp Iron using Jeff Middleton't Swing Migration Kit ( It will save you many times the cost in time and grief.

Whether SBS 2011 is the way of the future will depend on the environment and there is not enough detail to make a judgement on that, however a LOT of SMB IT Admins are opting for standard Servers with Hosted e'mail Either Exchange or G'Mail from a hosting provider of your choice.

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Recovery of a Small Business Server 2003 R2 system

by lee In reply to Recovery of a Small Busin ...

Thanks for the reply to my post. I ahve already decided to go with the "Swing Migration" option. The product looks good and will simplify the whole thing. Again thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to respond with advice.



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