Event ID: 12291 in the System event log after the virtual AD server boots, per a *script, at 6:30 a.m. Event ID 12291: SAM failed to start the TCP/IP or SPX/IPX listening thread. This occurred 4 times in the past week. There is a string of corresponding events in the Application event log: Event ID 1053: Windows cannot determine the user or computer name. (The workstation driver is not installed. ). Group Policy processing aborted. There are a couple of MSDTC warnings, also, when this occurs.

*script shuts the AD server down at 8:30pm, DeltaCopy backs up the vm file, script starts up the AD server at 6:30am.

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    You've tagged this 'vmware', VMWare is a company - which of their products are you talking about? – Chopper3 Jul 1 '10 at 14:44

Did you mess with or remove the Client for Microsoft Networks or files related to it?

The Client for Microsoft Networks component is actually the Workstation service. If you remove this service, the Netlogon and RPC Locator services are also removed. When you reinstall the Client for Microsoft Networks component, the Netlogon and RPC Locator services are also reinstalled, but the Netlogon service is not configured to depend on the Server service when the computer starts.

The errors you are getting seem to point those components being damaged or missing.

This KB article might help if you need to reinstall it: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/134304

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