If you have been working with Windows servers long enough there are a few things that you both love and hate. Two of these things are likely ‘Directory Services Restore Mode’ and ‘System State Restore’. When things are looking grim and that Active Directory server will not boot properly or the database is corrupted you are hoping that both of these tools are your best friends and cooperate with your efforts to restore the server. If you can successfully boot into ‘Directory Services Restore Mode’ that is step one and you are feeling excited and nervous at the same time. However make sure you keep your fingers crossed, you pray to whatever deity that you believe in, rub a rabbits foot, or whatever method of generating luck you have and hope that you have a valid system state backup that is not too old and that it is not corrupt. Once you locate your backup and successfully restore it and then boot into Windows normally you can than check AD and other functions of the server to make sure they are working properly. If so you know that you can get a good nights sleep that night. If not you will keep looking for a valid system state backup, image backup or other. Moral of this story is have good backups and be sure to have system state backups as part of your plan. Even better you will also have image based backups both locally and offsite as a last resort.
Yes I lucked out tonight and a system state restore quickly fixed a down server. Time for bed…….