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Restore System State data

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

To restore System State data

  1. Open Backup.

    The Backup or Restore Wizard starts by default, unless it is disabled.

  2. Click the Advanced Mode link on the Backup or Restore Wizard.

  3. Click the Restore and Manage Media tab, click the box next to System State. This will restore the System State data along with any other data you have selected for the current restore operation.


  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure.

  • To start Backup, click Start, point to All programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Backup.

  • You can also use the Restore Wizard to restore the System State data by clicking Restore Wizard on the Tools menu.

  • If you are restoring the System State data to a domain controller, you must choose whether you want to perform a primary restore, an authoritative restore or a nonauthoritative restore. The default method of restoring the System State data to a domain controller is nonauthoritative (normal). In this mode, any component of the System State that is replicated to with another domain controller, such as the Active Directory directory service or the File Replication service (including the SYSVOL directory), will be brought up to date by replication after you restore the data. For example, if the last backup was performed a week ago, and the System State is restored using the default restore method (nonauthoritative), any changes made subsequent to the backup operation will be replicated from the domain controllers.

    In some cases, you may not want to replicate the changes that have been made subsequent to the last backup operation. In other words, there may be instances where you want all replicas to have the same state as the backed up data. To achieve this state, you must perform an authoritative restore.

    For example, you have to perform an authoritative restore if you inadvertently delete users, groups, or organizational units from the Active Directory directory service, and you want to restore the system so that the deleted objects are recovered and replicated. To do this, you need to run the Ntdsutil utility after you have restored the data but before you restart the domain controller. This utility lets you mark objects as authoritative, which will ensure that any replicated or distributed data that you have restored is properly replicated or distributed throughout your organization. The Ntdsutil command line utility can be run from the command prompt. Help for the Ntdsutil utility can also be found at the command prompt by typing ntdsutil /?. For more information , see Related Topics.

  • To restore the System State data on a domain controller, you must first start your computer in a special startup option called Directory Services Restore Mode. This will allow you to restore the SYSVOL directory and Active Directory directory service database. To access Directory Services Restore Mode, press F8 during startup and select it from the list of startup options. For more information on startup options, see Related Topics.

  • You can only restore the System State data on a local computer. You cannot restore the System State data on a remote computer.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

See Also


System State data
Back up System State data
Startup options
Update a catalog
Permissions and user rights required to back up and restore