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Active Directory, Second Edition by Alistair G. Lowe-Norris, Robbie Allen

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Restoring Active Directory

No one ever wants to be in a position where you have to restore Active Directory, but nevertheless you should prepare for it. Restoring Active Directory comes in a few different flavors, which we’ll cover now.

Nonauthoritative Restore

A nonauthoritative restore is a restore where you simply bring a domain controller back to a known good state using a backup. You then let replication resync the contents of the latest changes in Active Directory since the backup. The restore from backup method we described earlier to handle DC failures is an example of a nonauthoritative restore. The only difference between that scenario and the one we’ll describe here is that previously we assumed that the failed server you rebuilt or replaced was not a domain controller yet. There may be some circumstances when you want to perform a similar restore, but the server is a domain controller. One example might be if some changes were made on a particular domain controller that you wanted to take back. If you were able to disconnect the domain controller from the network in time before it replicated, you could perform a nonauthoritative restore to get it back to a known state before the changes were made. This would effectively nullify the changes as long as they didn’t replicate to another server.

A nonauthoritative restore simply restores Active Directory without marking any of the data as authoritative. Since the data will be “nonauthoritative,” any changes that have happened ...

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