Disaster Recovery restore steps for a remote Windows 2008 computer


Disaster Recovery of a remote Windows 2008 computer (includes both non-authoritative and authoritative restore of Active Directory for a domain controller)


If the system is protected by Backup Exec for Windows Servers Intelligent Disaster Recovery, see "Backup Exec for Windows Servers - Intelligent Disaster Recovery Option" in the Backup Exec Administrator's Guide for information on Automated Disaster Recovery. The procedure described in the following section is for a manual recovery of a computer not protected by IDR.

This procedure restores the computer's Operating System to its pre-disaster state and will restore all data files, except those protected by one of the Backup Exec database agents. If any of the data is protected by Backup Exec Database agents, refer The Backup Exec Administrator Guide before beginning disaster recovery.


1. Latest full backup of the computer to be recovered and any subsequent incremental/differential backups.
2. The Windows 2008 installation media.
3. The hardware must be identical to the original computer except for hard disks, video cards, and network interface cards.
4. There must be enough disks to restore all of the critical system disks. A disk is considered critical if it is required for the computer to boot successfully.
5. The storage capacity of each critical disk must be greater than or equal to the corresponding original disk. Disk geometries, which may also be called disk parameters, must be compatible.


1. To recover a computer that runs Windows Server 2008, it may be necessary to turn on the Windows Bit Locker Drive Encryption option.
  BitLocker Drive Encryption Step-by-Step Guide (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732725%28WS.10%29.aspx)
2. Always log on to Windows using the Administrator account or its equivalent during this procedure.

To recover a remote Windows 2008 computer:

At the remote Computer:

1. Install the original version of Windows 2008.
  • This basic Windows installation is necessary to provide Backup Exec with a target to which it can restore the system. The computer name, Windows directory and the file system (NTFS) must be the same as the previous Windows installation. This basic installation will later be overwritten by the backed up version, which will restore the system configuration, application settings, and security settings. 
  • If the system is being recovered from hard disk failure, use Windows setup to partition and format the new disk during installation. Format the partitions with the same file system as before the failure. 
  • If the system being recovered was in a Domain pre-disaster, then do not join the Domain, instead, the Primary DNS Suffix should be changed to match the domain name (i.e. If the computer is named 'computer.domain.com', the Primary DNS suffix will need to be 'domain.com') This can be found under System Properties>Computer Name>Change>More.  For additional information on this and on troubleshooting restore errors, review the following article:  

 Unable to attach to a resource' may occur when a restore is attempted if the machine name does not match the name listed in the Backup Exec Remote Agent Utility when the backup was performed  http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH62182 

  • If the system being recovered was a domain controller, then do not install Active Directory.
  • If the system being recovered was in a Workgroup pre-disaster, then do not join the Domain/Workgroup.

At the Media Server:

2. From the Media Server push install Backup Exec Remote Agent to the remote computer.

3. Launch Backup Exec for Windows Servers Console.

4. From the navigation bar, click Devices, and then inventory the media containing the latest full backup of the Remote System to be recovered.

Note: Step 5 is required only if catalog information of the Backup Set from which data needs to be restored is missing.

5. Catalog the media containing the latest full backup of the computer to be recovered. Media which contains subsequent differential/incremental backup sets should also be cataloged.

6. From the navigation bar, click Restore.

7. From the Restore selections tab, select all sets from the full and incremental backups that contain logical drives on the hard disk. If differential backup sets are to be restored, select only the last differential set. Make sure to include System State and Shadow Copy components as part of the restore selections.

8. From the Properties pane, under Settings, click on General tab, and select the following options:

- Restore over existing files
- Restore security
- Preserve tree

Note: Step 9 is required only if the Remote system being restored is a Domain Controller.

9. If the computer being restored is the only domain controller in the domain or if the entire domain is being rebuilt and this is the first domain controller, then from the ADVANCED tab, select Mark this server as the primary arbitrator for replication when restoring folders managed by the File Replication Service, or when restoring SYSVOL in System State.

10. Click Run Now to start the restore.

11. Once the restore job is successful reboot the remote computer.

Step 11 is the last step for Non-Authoritative restore. The computer's operating system is now restored to its pre-disaster state. All data files have been restored, except those protected by Backup Exec database agents.

For Authoritative Restore continue to follow Step 12 onwards.

At the remote Computer:

12. Press <F8> during startup.

13. From the Boot options select Directory Services Restore Mode.

At the Media Server:

14. Launch Backup Exec console.

15. From the navigation bar, click Restore and select System State component as the restore selections.

16. From the Properties pane, under Source, select Resource Credentials.

17. Highlight the restore selection for the remote server and click New.

18. Create a new logon account for this restore job. The account should be same as the administrator account for DSRM mode on the remote Windows 2008 Server.

19. Select the new logon account and click OK.

20. Run the Restore job.

Follow the steps below once the Restore job has finished successfully.

At the remote Computer:

21. At this point to

A). Restore the entire Active Directory:

In the following example, the Windows 2008 domain name to restore is bkupexec001.com.
  • Enter "activate instance NTDS"     (* Windows default is NTDS.)
  • Enter "Authoritative Restore"
  • Enter "Restore Subtree "dc=backupexec001, dc=com"".

See Microsoft's documentation for running NTDSUTIL for Windows 2008 for more details.

B). Restore specific objects from the Active Directory
  • Open command prompt.
  • Type NTDSUTIL and press Enter.
  • Type Authoritative Restore and press Enter.
  • Type Restore Subtree "ou=<OU Name>,dc=<domain name>,dc=<xxx> (without the brackets), and then press Enter.

Note: In the above example <OU Name> is the name of the organizational unit, <domain name> is the domain name in which the OU resides, and <xxx> is the top level domain name of the domain controller, such as com, org, or edu. The above step can be used to restore as many objects as one needs to restore.

22. Exit NTDSUTIL once the restore has finished.

23. Restart the computer.

Applies To

Windows Server 2008

Terms of use for this information are found in Legal Notices.



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