Incorporate domain controller backups into your routine operations schedule to protect against user error, software error, or hardware error. Windows Server Backup is an optional Windows Server 2008 feature that you install by using Server Manager. Use Windows Server Backup to back up all volumes on a domain controller (also known as a full server backup) or a specified set of critical volumes that contain system state data. Critical volumes include volumes that host the Active Directory database (Ntds.dit) and log files, SYSVOL, the registry, and select operating system files.


For install from media (IFM) installations, use Ntdsutil.exe, rather than Windows Server Backup, to create the installation media. Ntdsutil.exe includes an ifm subcommand that creates installation media for the installation of additional domain controllers. The ifm subcommand creates installation media that includes only the files that are required to install AD DS, and you can use it to create secure installation media for RODC installation. For more information about using the ntdsutil ifm subcommand, see Installing AD DS from Media (

Performing domain controller backups

The following table lists references that you can use to perform backups of domain controllers that run Windows Server 2008.

  Step Reference
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If necessary, install Windows Server Backup.

Installing Windows Server Backup (

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As needed, perform a backup of system state data or the critical volumes that are required to recover a domain controller.

Performing an Unscheduled Backup of a Domain Controller (

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As needed, perform a backup of all volumes that are hosted on a domain controller.

Perform a Full Server Backup of a Domain Controller by Using the GUI (Windows Server Backup) (

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Automate domain controller backups by scheduling Windows Server Backup to perform daily backup jobs.

Scheduling Regular Full Server Backups of a Domain Controller (