Restoring System State

The system-specific data that comprises System State includes the registry, the COM+ Class Registration database, and boot and system files. The Certificate Services database will also be included if the server is operating as a certificate server. If the server is a domain controller, the data also includes Active Directory services database and SYSVOL directory. The System State data is backed up only as a collection. However, you can use the Active Directory Recovery Agent to restore individual objects.

If you are restoring Active Directory to a computer that is a domain controller, you must start the computer in safe mode and use the Directory Services Restore Mode to perform the restore. System State cannot be restored unless the target computer is in Directory Services Restore Mode. To restore System State data to a server that is not a domain controller, you can perform a basic restore.

If you have more than one domain controller in the network and you want Active Directory replicated to the other domain controllers, you must perform an authoritative restore of the Active Directory.

To perform an authoritative restore of the Active Directory, you must run Microsoft's Ntdsutil utility after the Backup Exec restore job completes and you have restored the System State data, but before you restart the server. An authoritative restore ensures that the restored data is replicated to all of the servers. For more information about authoritative restore and the Ntdsutil utility, see your Microsoft documentation.


A System State backup is always a full backup. Therefore, when restoring, only the most recent backup of the System State must be restored. You should not cancel a System State restore job. Canceling this job could leave the system unusable.

To start the Backup Exec services and perform a local restore of System State data on a domain controller

  1. Start the target server, press <F8> when prompted for Startup Options, and then select the Directory Services Restore Mode option.

  2. Do one of the following:

    To open Services on Windows 2000/2003

    Do the following in the order listed:

    • Right-click My Computer.

    • Click Manage.

    • Expand Services and Applications.

    To open Services on Windows 2008

    Do the following in the order listed:

    • Right-click My Computer.

    • Click Manage.

    • Expand Configuration.

  3. Click Services.

  4. For each Backup Exec service listed, do the following in the order listed:

    • Click Properties on the shortcut menu.

    • Click the Log On tab, click This account, enter a user account with local administrator's rights, and then click OK.

    • Right-click the service, and then click Start.

  5. After the Backup Exec services have started, run Backup Exec and perform a restore of the System State. Set the following option on the Advanced screen: 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.

  6. If you are restoring System State, restart your system before you restore more data.

More Information

Restoring data by setting job properties

Table: Advanced options for restore

About restoring individual Active Directory and ADAM/AD LDS objects