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Course Introduction

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Getting Started with Active Directory Domain Services

• 52min

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Introduction to Active Directory Users & Computers

• 1hr 27min

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Adding a Second Domain Controller

• 1hr 31min

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Active Directory Backups

• 1hr 24min

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How to Administrate Active Directory with Windows PowerShell

• 1hr 58min

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Administrating AD SS (Active Directory Sites and Services)

• 1hr 3min

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Active Directory Trusts

• 54min

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Modifying the Active Directory Schema

• 43min

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Course Conclusion

• 2min

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Restoring an Active Directory Backup


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In this lession, we will be restoring an Active Directory / System State backup of our primary domain controller. To get started, I am going to log in to my test lab, open Active Directory and start breaking stuff.

I’m going to delete the root OU I have called “Server Academy”. This will delete several user and computer accounts as well as other sub OUs.

First I need to enable Advanced Features by clicking View > Advanced Features, then I can open the properties of each OU and remove the protection from accidental deletion:

Now that I have repeated this for all the OUs, I can go ahead and delete the OUs:

So now my OU and User Accounts are deleted:

Yikes! Now I need to restore my backup to get the data back. To restore a System State backup of an Active Directory we first need to boot the server into DSRM (Directory Services Restore Mode). We can boot into this mode by restarting the server and repeatidly pressing F8 from the moment the server powers off until you see the screen below:

Select Directory Services Repair Mode, then press Enter.

Notice: If you don’t have physical access to the server or don’t see the prompt when you reboot the server, use MSConfig:

Then select Boot > Safe boot > Active Directory repair:

Click OK then restart:

Once you have rebooting into DSRM mode, log in with the LOCAL administrator account and the DSRM password you created when you installed the ADDS server role:

If you see a message about no logon servers available, that means you are using a domain account and not a local account.

Once you’ve logged in, open Command prompt:

Next run the following command: 

wbadmin get versions

Next start a recovery by running the command: 

wbadmin start systemstaterecovery -version:[Insert your version identifier here] –authsysvol

Note that the “–authsysvol” marks this sysvol as the authoritative for your replication.

I am going to select the latest update I have, and run the command:

Next enter “Y” to confirm:

Again type “Y” to confirm that you may lose internet connectivity:

Confirm that you understand there will be increase network traffic between your domain controllers (if you have multiple) due to AD replication:

Finally, the backup will start and now it’s just a waiting game:

If you used MSConfig to start into DSRM mode, you will want to undo those changes before rebooting. Since my search doesn’t work, Im going to right-click the taskbar and select Task Bar.

Next click File > Run new task

Type MSConfig and press OK. Go to Goot and turn off Safe boot:

Now restart your server. The computer will take a while before booting up so you’ll need to be patient.

Once this is done, go ahead and log in. Once I open Active Directory I can see that the OUs and user accounts are now restored:

And that is how you perform an active directory backup and restore!

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James Paradis(@james-paradis)
1 year ago

You mention backups being finished a couple of times, But I think you mean the restore is finished.

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9 months ago

Hello i tried to replicate your steps on my vm and i did everything exactly the same as you.But when i tried to restore my Backup with Wbadmin after typing two times Yes for continuing it prompts me a “Windows Backup cant find the backup set directory on the media”
Any Idea whats the problem? I thought maybe its because the backup path is a network path but on the C:// ..
But when i did the WBadmin get versions it shows me the right backup files

thank you for helping

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Ricardo P(@ricardop)
Reply to  horstb
9 months ago

Interesting. Let me try it in a lab to give you a better answer profile avatar Horst Bornschein-Grolms