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We had a request to clone a Windows 2008 R2 virtual server that's already a member of Active Directory. Obviously we have no way to remove this server gracefully to reset it to standalone mode from AD because the server being cloned is still an active member.

If we pulled the clone into an isolated VLAN and then sysprep'd it, would all evidence of it ever having been an AD member be removed?

Or is it not as simple as that?

For completeness, it's a Citrix XenServer 5.6.1 VM, but that's really neither here nor there to be honest.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If all you want to do is remove active directory membership from the machine just put it in to workgroup mode. Syspreping the system will effectively do the same thing as well as prepare the system for deployment should you wish to clone the system again (presuming the software on the machine will not be affected by the sysprep process)

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Thanks for the reply Jim - The cloned server will happily revert to standalone without needing to phone home? – Kev Feb 10 '11 at 17:22

When there's a need for me to "clone" a server here is what I follow:

(Applies to Windows 2000 & Windows 2003) Don't see a reason why same will not work for Windows 2008.

  1. Installing a server at the same OS and SP levels, update it to the latest patches.
  2. Taking full system backup of the server required to be cloned as well as system state backup.
  3. On the new server, copy the following files to, say C:\exclude folder:












Please note, some of the files might not be applicable to your environment.

  1. Perform full restore of the data on the new server. Don't reboot!
  2. Perform systemstate restore on the new server. Don't reboot!
  3. Copy over the excluded files the their original locations. Reboot. After system will boot up, fix drivers, IP, DNS, etc issues.

You now have identical copy of AD, as the original server. Clean up AD if required based on this procedure.

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