My SQL server has catastrophically failed. Is it possible to remove its entry in the Active Directory completely so that another server can be added with the same name and IP address? If so, could you please provide me with sources?

I can't quite find what I'm looking for on Google. The server is:

  • NOT a domain controller
  • AD is on a 2008 machine, I believe?

Thank you for your time.

Edit: Additional information about the server:

  • It is a SQL server, not an Exchange server
  • It may be going to be difficult to advise if you aren't even sure what your correct Google terms would be, yourself. Jul 16 '14 at 14:16
  • 1
    @FelixFrank "It may be going to be difficult"
    – Chris S
    Jul 16 '14 at 14:17
  • @ChrisS Existing answers notwithstanding - those aren't displayed during review ;p - The general point stands, SE questions should be founded on the poster's own research effort. Jul 16 '14 at 14:28
  • @FelixFrank Sorry, didn't realize you don't speak English natively. I was pointing out a grammatical error. "It may be going to be difficult" should be "I may be difficult" or "It is going to be difficult". Sorry!
    – Chris S
    Jul 16 '14 at 14:39
  • Guess I was trying to build the elusive Future Subjunctive there. I'm not convinced it's not valid, but I'm going to trust you on that one (before making an ass of myself at english.stackexchange.com) :-) Jul 16 '14 at 14:57

Just spin up a new server, name it, reboot, join to the domain. AD will not care if done in this order.

  • I was told there might be concerns that in AD, there is a "SID"(?) tied to each server and if we bring up a new server with same name and same IP address, it might not work... is there any truth to that? Jul 16 '14 at 14:06
  • That's several misconceptions rolled into one. The whole "SID" thing has absolutely no impact on your situation, it sort of never did, it's a long story and I doubt you're interested. As long as you name the server BEFORE joining it to AD it will overwrite the existing computer account. If you have something more complicated like ADCS with cert auto-provisioning then you might need to clean out the old certs before it will issue to the new server - if you've got complicated stuff like that you should be calling a consultant. But just SQL isn't a big deal.
    – Chris S
    Jul 16 '14 at 14:09
  • She won't be able to do this because the computer object exists in AD in a populated state. It needs to be reset or delete/created.
    – Bin
    Jul 16 '14 at 14:14
  • @Bin There's no such concept as "populated" in AD.
    – Chris S
    Jul 16 '14 at 14:14
  • @Chris S Populated, not empty, in use; whatever term you wish to use. To my knowledge one cannot join a computer to a domain where a computer object with the same name already exists if it is in this state.
    – Bin
    Jul 16 '14 at 14:21

Using GUI tools:

If it's just an ordinary member server, and you would like to reuse the computer name/account name, simply:

  1. Open up Active Directory Users and Computers
  2. Right-click the domain in the left pane and click "Find"
  3. In the Drop-down that says "Users, Contacts and Groups", change to "Computers"
  4. Fill in the name of the "dead" member server and click "Find Now"
  5. Right-click the Computer account object in the result pane, and select "Delete"

Now, just wait for replication to occur and you will be able to join a new member server to the domain with the same name

Using PowerShell:

You can find and remove it using PowerShell as well (assuming your Domain Controller og Management station is Windows 2008 R2 or Win 7 with RSAT):

Import-Module Active Directory
Get-ADComputer "SQLSRV01"

Review the output to make sure that it returns the server in question, and then remove it:

Get-ADComputer "SQLSRV01" | Remove-ADComputer
  • To confirm: this will work for a SQL server and no additional / remaining information in AD will conflict with the new server? :) Jul 16 '14 at 14:31
  • That's right. Of course any domain-accounts used for the "dead" SQL instance (service accounts, logon accounts, agent accounts) will still remain in AD, but in this case you would probably want to reuse those on the new server, and they have no impact on the name of the computer account whatsoever. TL;DR: Remove the Computer Account object in AD and you'll have no naming conflict when you join the new/reinstalled machine :-) Jul 16 '14 at 14:33
  • Thanks so much! I will try after on one of my lab stations. I wish I could mark more than one post as an answer :( You were very helpful, too! Jul 16 '14 at 14:51

AD entries are not tied to a particular computer (or server) function (SQL Server or Exchange).

To delete the Server using GUI run "Active Directory Users and Computers", ( %SystemRoot%\system32\dsa.msc), expand your domain tab (ie xxx.xxx), select the proper group (ie 'Servers') and on the right panel, right click the entry you want and click 'Delete'.

However, the objects may be protected; in this case at the ADUC's 'View' top menu select 'Advanced Features', then go down, right click the 'protected' group (ie Servers), select 'Properties' and then uncheck 'Protect Object from accidental deletion'. Restore the option when finish.

It's not a wise idea to remove a valid computer/server

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