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My hard drive recently failed and I lost my backups.

I do have the NTDS and SYSVOL folders with contents from my previous Active Directory install. Is it possible to recover my old Active Directory users, computers, etc from these files?

I've replaced the hard drive and installed Windows again and setup the domain the same as well. My only problem now is recovering the objects from the old domain. Can I do this with what I saved from the old computer?

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There are so many things wrong here. One HDD failure shouldn't take a server down (use RAID). Your server dying shouldn't take down AD (Use more than one Domain Controller). And your server dying shouldn't ruin your backups (They're not backups if they're sitting on the same drives that they're backing up). – MDMarra Jul 2 '12 at 19:10
It seems like this must be in a test environment only since I don't sense much panic in your question so rather than answer "Is it possible?" you should probably focus your efforts and research on avoiding this situation entirely in the future by any means necessary (i.e. have a backup and more than one DC). – August Jul 2 '12 at 19:14
The worst thing you could do is try to recover the old domain from what you have. If, by some miracle, you manage to make it "work," you'll have spent many hours to end up with an AD that's incomplete, not fully functional, brittle and flaky anyway. It'll cause you much more hell than you'll save in not building a new one. – HopelessN00b Jul 2 '12 at 23:40
I figured it wouldn't be possible, I just thought I would make sure. The machine wasn't one I built, It was in a raid 5 with only 3 drives and it was using a built in MB raid. The OS was installed to the raid and their data was saved there as well, added a new drive to the array and after a rebuild nothing, no booting into windows (none of the recovery options worked either). So there was no way I could backup AD to restore it to a new install. The OS's recovery backup happened to be on the raid on a separate partition. Essentially it was a head meet wall moment when I found this out. – Nebseb Jul 3 '12 at 2:24
So now the OS is running on its own drive separate from the raid, important data is now being stored on a raid 5 with 4 drives using a hardware based raid controller card. I've also made a backup of the new install and will be sending a copy to an external and to their amazon s3 account for backup. Can you suggest a better way to set it up then what i've done? I have time still to change the setup before I have to put this back into the prod environment. – Nebseb Jul 3 '12 at 2:24

You're in a world of hurt. To even attempt a restore of AD you need a complete backup of the system state. The NTDS and Sysvol folders don't have everything you are going to need.

I have honestly never tried to recover AD with the little you have here and I cannot find any recovery procedures from MSFT that deals with this. As MDMarra points out you really did not have a good backup strategy and unfortunately this is the pain that comes from that.

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I figured it was probably not possible – Nebseb Jul 3 '12 at 2:16

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