How do I install a Replica Domain Controller from a previous backed-up media on my Windows Server 2003 server?
First make sure you read and understand Active Directory Installation Requirements. If you don‘t comply with all the requirements of that article you will not be able to set up your AD (for example: you don‘t have a NIC or you‘re using a computer that‘s not connected to a LAN).
Note: This article is only good for understanding how to install an ADDITIONAL DC in an EXISTING AD Domain. For any other scenario please read the How to Install Active Directory on Windows 2003 page.
In Windows Server 2003 a new feature has been added, and this time it‘s one that will actually make our lives easier… You can promote a domain controller using files backed up from a source domain controller!!!
This feature is called “Install from Media” and it‘s available by running DCPROMO with the /adv switch. It‘s not a replacement for network replication, we still need network connectivity, but now we can use an old System State copy from another Windows Server 2003, copy it to our future DC, and have the first and basic replication take place from the media, instead of across the network, this saving valuable time and network resources.
What you basically have to do is to back up the systems data of an existing domain controller, restore that backup to your replica candidate, use DCPromo /Adv to tell it to source from local media, rather than a network source.
This also works for global catalogs. If we perform a backup of a global catalog server, then we can create a new global catalog server by performing DCPromo from that restored media.
It only works for the same domain, so you cannot back up a domain controller in domain A and create a new domain B using that media.
It‘s only useful up to the tombstone lifetime with a default of 60 days. So if you have an old backup, then you cannot create a new domain controller using that, because you‘ll run into the problem of reanimating deleted objects.
The /adv switch is only necessary when you want to create a domain controller from restored backup files. It is not required when creating an additional domain controller over the network.
Note: When choosing the option to copy domain information over the network, all directory data for the domain in which this domain controller will be a member will be copied over your network connection. You will have the option to cancel non-critical replication, if necessary.
When choosing the option to copy domain information from restored backup files, you will need to first back up the System State data of a domain controller running Windows Server 2003 from the domain in which this member server will become an additional domain controller. Then, the System State backup must be restored locally on the server on which you are installing Active Directory. To do this using Backup, choose the option Restore files to: Alternate location.
If a domain controller that was backed up contained an application directory partition, the application directory partition will not be restored on the new domain controller.
If the domain controller from which you restored the System State data was a global catalog, you will have the option to make this new domain controller a global catalog.
The user account must be a member of the Domain Admins group for the target domain.
Use this password when starting the computer in Directory Services Restore Mode.