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We have had a server in a data center for about 6 years now. A few days ago motherboard went bad. In order to get the services running back quickly, a tech team decided to place it on a new motherboard with a different processor (different HAL needed).

So, the steps that lead to the current state:

  1. Motherboard on the server goes bad.
  2. HDD's a moved to a different motherboard.
  3. Windows Server 2003 R2 CD doesn't allow a repair install for some reason.
  4. Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 CD on the other hand, allowed to proceed with repair install.
  5. x64 repair install restarts after Regional Setting and Key dialogs and after restart again prompts the same data.

Currently, the repair installation process can't finish.

But the HDD is intact and the data is accessible.

Can I transfer Active Directory to a new installation of windows with only access to files? If yes, please lead me to the guide on how to do it.

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Are there any usable, recent backups? Because the short answer to your question is "No" and the simplest way to deal with this mess would be to build a new system (this can be a virtual system if drivers are a problem) and restore from a backup. –  RobM Jan 17 '12 at 11:23
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Was that your only DC? –  MDMarra Jan 17 '12 at 12:04
    
Yep, the only DC. No repair install possibility even from x64 CD now. I am going to go ahead and just reinstall a server and recreate a users. Since it was just a data-center domain, it only had like 3, that were integrated to DB engine and IIS. @Rob, you should post your comment as an answer. –  Maxim V. Pavlov Jan 17 '12 at 12:08
    
Its possible to get some ad data back from ntds.dit but it sounds like its not worth it. –  Jim B Jan 20 '12 at 13:32

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Are there any usable, recent backups? Because the short answer to your question is "No" and the simplest way to deal with this mess would be to build a new system (this can be a virtual system if drivers are a problem) and restore from a backup.

If this situation happens to you or anyone else reading this in the future then I'd suggest duplicating the disk (probably to a virtual disk) and running any repair operations on the duplicate.

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Are there any usable, recent backups? Because the short answer to your question is “No” and the simplest way to deal with this mess would be to build a new system (this can be a virtual system if drivers are a problem) and restore from a backup.

If this situation happens to you or anyone else reading this in the future then I’d suggest duplicating the disk (probably to a virtual disk) and running any repair operations on the duplicate.

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If you have system, DNS and AD database intact from the old system i see few possibilities here. You could think to use some product to virtualize the system from your old hard drive. You could try to use tools like storage craft or acronis to do it. Then you could run your AD server on VM. If however you want to put it back to some other hardware there would be also two possibilities: The storage craft while you doing VM from hard drive would create an image non physical machine related that process is called: bare metal recovery of Windows servers. You could rebuild on almost whatever machine you like from that image. However I run in to some difficulty some times with this with some SCSI drives etc. The other way would be to run your image as Virtual machine as primary AD (as i understand it is an primary server. Then create secondary machine and transfer FSMO roles to it. Make it primary etc...

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Virtualization won't magically fix my corrupted Windows Server installation. –  Maxim V. Pavlov Jan 17 '12 at 12:08
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This could be a really bad idea if the OP still has a functioning DC. Also leaving the PDC emulator role on a virtual box for any period of time is not a very good idea either. –  Tim Brigham Jan 17 '12 at 12:12
    
you wrote "But the HDD is intact and the data is accessible." so waht do you mean by yours data are intact. Did you run the repair from 64 bit cd to 32 bit cd without having the ull backup of hdd ? If so how yours DNS was orginized on you AD ? was it in files or was it in registry ? if in registry it is harder to recover that as it will consume a lot of time but if in files you could rebuild the DNS on new machine from it. –  Sebastian Grzanowicz Jan 17 '12 at 12:16
    
@Tim Brigham 4 mins ago If there is a secondary DC in place already I agree to your's way of thinking Solution then is to just to rase roles and never try to connect old system. I had similar situation here and I did what I wrote here - system is running still perfect after 3 years from PDC crash. –  Sebastian Grzanowicz Jan 17 '12 at 12:21
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I did something crazy like this when I first got into IS as well.. The org only had a single DC. I'm just saying suggesting this without a bit more detail from the OP could have unintended side effects. –  Tim Brigham Jan 17 '12 at 12:25

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