Windows Server in bad shape - what are my options?


  • Hi guys,

    I'm running Windows Small Business Server 2008 premium. It deals with Anti virus, AD, backups, DNS, DCHP and hosts public docs. I also have a Windows Server 2008 system running our LoB software (SQL), print server.

    To cut a long story short, it hasn't been maintained for the last 6 months. I accept any and all criticism for this.

    WSUS is completely broken - clients aren't getting any updates.

    Backups won't complete (Windows server backup). I tried a manual system-state backup a few months ago and this seemed to work, but I'm not sure it would work now, I need to test this.

    I've searched various MS forums and attempted to sort these problems out for quite some time but to no avail. I've made the mistake of not documenting the various steps I've taken and I think I've got it into an even bigger mess making further troubleshooting much more difficult.

    The server is around 4 years old now and probably due to be upgrade / replaced. As I'm having all these problems, it's making the idea of a new system more appealing.

    My question:

    If I bought a new Server (or reinstalled the old one!), would a system-state backup of my current set up be sufficient to retain all AD / DNS / DHCP information? I know I'd have to sort out the public documents some other way. If I did a fresh install and restored the system-state backup, would this "break" Backup and WSUS as it currently is?

    Or am I completely misunderstanding the situation?


    Tuesday, April 09, 2013 2:58 PM

All replies

  • By doing that, you'd simply be moving your software issues to new hardware.  Depending on the size of the company and the state of Active Directory, I might suggest recreating the server entirely.  If you need to replicate AD, there are ways to do that.  But if AD is as badly configured as WSUS and Windows Backup, you may simply move those issues to the new server as well.
    Tuesday, April 09, 2013 3:25 PM
  • I agree with jeremy hammonds. Attempting a system-state backup and restoring that to new hardware would give you the same mess that you're in. I can't imagine that being good. If it's doable, get the new system. Figure out all that you want to do with it: AV, AD, backups, DNS, DHCP, File server, SQL, and printing then research the installation and configuration of each of these roles here at Technet. There is documentation on this that will help you out greatly.

    This link: will take you there. When you go to this link, on the right will be the server technologies, e.g., DHCP. Clicking on DHCP will give you information on DHCP such as 'Step-by-Step' that would help you out. You can do this for each role you want on your server.

    • Edited by avandelay05 Tuesday, April 09, 2013 4:05 PM
    Tuesday, April 09, 2013 4:03 PM
  • Thanks Jeremy and Avandelay.

    I feared that would be the case, but at least now I know for sure.

    If I did get a new server, I guess I'd have to create a new domain and all users etc. How would that effect my second server which runs SQL and our LoB software. Would it be as simple as joining the new domain or would it mess with all the permissions?

    It sounds like quite a big task but I'm not sure I have any other options :-(

    Tuesday, April 09, 2013 4:17 PM
  • I hope someone else will clarify this, but this is what I would do. So I understand you currently have two servers. The one that is messed up will be replaced with a new one. The second one that is working fine is the SQL/LoB server. Here is what I would do if that is the case: add the new server to the domain. So you will now have three servers. From the current messed up server, promote the new server as a domain controller, then strategically move all of the responsibilities of the messed up server to the new server. When you've done that and everything is operational the way you want, *then* decommission the messed up server.

    I hope I've been clear. Please let me know if I haven't. And if anyone else has a better idea please post here.

    Step-by-step guide

    After removal you'll need to cleanup metadata
    • Edited by avandelay05 Tuesday, April 09, 2013 4:57 PM
    Tuesday, April 09, 2013 4:52 PM
  • Hello,

    you should ask the SBS experts in

    Best regards

    Meinolf Weber
    Microsoft MVP - Directory Services
    My Blog:

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided AS IS with no warranties or guarantees and confers no rights.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 8:50 AM
  • Thanks again Avandelay.

    You appear to understand the situation correctly and your advice sounds good. I'll check out those guides and see if it is something I feel confident in trying.

    Thanks again.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 9:06 AM
  • You're welcome. I second Meinolf Weber's recommendation of checking out and posting your question to the SBS experts.
    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:24 PM
  • Hi

    Before any move more move you need to make a valid backup. Check the eventlog and rule that out ASAP.

    The problem in your case is the SBS, my first reflex in a case like you would be to dcpromo another server to get a copy of the AD before it crash, but I know in SBS2011 you can (without getting the FMSO's role), but in SBS2008 I'am not sure. Thats why I second's Meinolf post too.


    MCP | MCTS 70-236: Exchange Server 2007, Configuring

    Twitter - @yagmoth555 ()
    Blog: |

    Thursday, April 11, 2013 1:20 AM
  • Hi,

    Thanks again avand and yag.

    I've made a post in the SBS forum.

    A plan is starting to take shape:

    Buy a new Server 2012 box and promote it to the domain controller (dcpromo?) and transfer the roles over to this new box, decommissioning the old SBS box.

    I don't have a decent backup which is scary.

    I've found lots of migration guides, but not much for going from a SBS 2008 server to a Server 2012 standard..

    EDIT: I have just found out that my 2nd server (Windows Server 2008 standard) is actually a domain controller too. I set up this domain over 4 years ago and I haven't had much experience since.

    In theory, could I move everything onto this 2nd server for now and decommission the SBS box? This would mean it is no longer an SBS Domain. Afterwards, I could get another server and have this as a backup DC?

    • Edited by Chris30-UK Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:41 PM
    Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:16 PM