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I know it's possible to use system state, but I do not want to do a full system backup... I want to backup AD and that's it. Would stopping all AD services, then backing up all NTDS files be sufficient in a catastrophic failure? Would I be able to just copy/paste in my "backup" copies of the NTDS files?

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I've never met anyone who had to actually do a restore who regretted doing too much work on their backups. I've met lots of people who regretted trying to do clever stuff like this, though. This is a really bad idea. –  RobM Apr 23 '12 at 5:28
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Why would you want to do that? Backing up system state doesn't take up a lot of backup space. System state doesn't backup everything! –  Bryan Apr 23 '12 at 7:01
    
It's the implementation of the backup; this question was meant to see if that was the only way, which it is. –  josten Jul 2 '12 at 20:17

2 Answers 2

up vote 29 down vote accepted

This is a terrific idea! Terrifically bad!

You'll need to backup your registry, SYSVOL folder, Ntds.dit, Edb.chk, Edb*.log, Res1.log and Res2.log. Oh, but that's not all! If there are other domain controllers in the domain you'll have to worry about non-authoritative versus authoritative restores. Just try doing that without a proper, "Microsoft Sanctioned" backup.

Let's Have Some Fun!

Since no one should ever consider their backups to be good enough until they've performed a fully functioning restoration, you go ahead and back up your Active Directory the way that you proposed above. Then, try and restore it. Tell us how it went.

I mean, you'll be performing full test restorations anyway, right?

We'll wait for your return.

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Thanks for clarifying this; one reason why our company will not use AD. Microsoft really should have made it more modular. –  josten Jun 27 '12 at 15:54
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AD is very modular, you need the right support modules to make it work however. Which is what system state covers. It's <1GB, I'm really not sure why you're trying to mess with individual files. –  Chris S Jun 27 '12 at 17:28
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@user973917 Obviously, that's your decision to make, but if taking a system state backup is too much, then maybe you just shouldn't have computers at all. –  MDMarra Jun 27 '12 at 17:34
    
@MDMarra, if I had to take a system state backup for MySQL... Postfix... Dovecot... SSH... ahh forget it. Speaking of which, AD is an LDAP based system from Microsoft. I should be able to easily dump the db for a backup. Which btw, what is done with OpenLDAP; I do not have to take entire system dump/image to have a 'stable' restore. Of course, this is one reason why our hosting company does not use Microsoft in anyway shape or form. –  josten Jul 1 '12 at 23:35
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You can certainly dump the database with ldifde. There's nothing stopping you from doing that. However, doing a system state backup allows for an authoritative restore. Unlike OpenLDAP which has a master node and slave nodes, AD uses multi-master peers which changes things a little. Honestly, it sounds like you have an anti-MS bias and are looking for an excuse to bash them. Taking a system state backup takes under 1 minute in most cases. It's less complex than backing up any other app you mentioned. Just because it's not what you're used to doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it. –  MDMarra Jul 1 '12 at 23:46

Why not just use the built-in backup utility to do a backup of the system state? That will get all the key files that you need. It's not a full system backup, and it shouldn't be too large.

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wbadmin in server 2008 + –  Mark Henderson Apr 23 '12 at 6:16
    
Ooh, I missed the tag. Thanks! –  Bigbio2002 Apr 23 '12 at 6:17

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