We have a Windows server 2012 R2 in our company network and it’s the only ActiveDirectory domain controller in the network.

Unfortunately, we made many mistake settings to the ActiveDirectory and wanted to revert them to previous ones from a backup I took a few days ago.

To do that, I needed to boot the domain controller in safe mode. So, I changed the boot setting in “msconfig” to boot it in safe mode, but it was a bad idea because in safe mode, the domain service stopped and there seemed to be no local account in the domain controller or, at least, I didn't know any of it to login.

Therefore, currently, there is no domain controller in the network and I cannot login even the domain controller and cannot make it boot in not safe mode but normal mode to login.

Do you know how to change the boot setting in msconfig without login or boot in normal mode in another way?

Thank you in advance.

2 Answers 2


Great to hear you managed to get the server working again. I really recommend resetting the Directory Services Recovery Mode (DSRM) password now that the server is alive, so you have it if something similar would ever happen again. Then store the password in a secure place or in a password manager you can reach even if the domain is unavailable.

To reset the DSRM password, run ntdsutil on your domain controller, as an administrator. At the prompt, enter set dsrm password. Finally at the resulting prompt, enter reset password on server null. Set the password when prompted (the prompt shouldn’t echo your characters).

(Source: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/322672/how-to-reset-the-directory-services-restore-mode-administrator-account)

  • I changed the DSRM password just in case, thank you! Relative questions. Is the user name of the DSRM login "Administrator"? Is the password changeable? Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 2:42
  • Yes, the DSRM account is the local Administrator account for the server, which is basically unavailable unless you start the machine in recovery mode. It’s probably not changeable other than using the method I described in my earlier post, or - I think - in recovery mode, which you of course shouldn’t have to use.
    – Mikael H
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 5:25
  • I meant whether the user name is “Administrator” and changeable? Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 5:27
  • Oh, that I frankly don’t know; sorry.
    – Mikael H
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 5:28

I'm still not sure how it worked but I have resolved the problem by the following way.

When booting, I pressed the F8 key and entered the boot options menu and chose "Safe mode and command prompt". After a while, the login screen appeared and typed the domain user name and the password which had been rejected in the previous tries. This time, I was able to login and the command prompt screen popped up. There, I typed "msconfig" and hit the enter and I got the setting window of msconfig and changed the boot setting to make the domain controller boot not in safe mode but in normal mode.

I don't know why it worked but choosing "safe mode and command prompt" let me login as the domain user.

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