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Planning for Active Directory Forest Recovery

Applies To: Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012

This guide contains best-practice recommendations for recovering an Active Directory┬« forest if forest-wide failure renders all domain controllers (DCs) in the forest incapable of functioning normally. The steps it contains serve as a template for your forest recovery plan, which you can customize for your particular environment. These steps apply to DCs that run Microsoft┬« Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2003 operating systems.


Procedures that are unique for DCs that run Windows Server 2003 are consolidated in Appendix D.

In this guide

Publication and revision history

The following table summarizes the revision history for this guide, including its original publication on Microsoft TechNet.



April 2013

Updated to reflect new features in Windows Server 2012.

May 2009

Updated to reflect new features in Windows Server 2008.

October 2006

Updated for Windows Server 2003 and published on TechNet

June 2002

Original publication on Microsoft Download Center