Authoritative SYSVOL Restore via Replication Reversal on Windows Server
Issue: In scenarios where the SYSVOL directory on a primary Domain Controller (DC) is either blank or corrupted, there’s a need to restore it authoritatively from another healthy DC in the environment. This guide focuses on resolving and rectifying replication issues within the Active Directory (AD) forest.
Preparation: Ensure backups of AD and SYSVOL from a known good state are available. Verify the health of AD and DFSR replication on all DCs.
Identifying the Authoritative DC: Designate the DC with the healthy SYSVOL (DC ‘B’) as the authoritative source for SYSVOL replication. Modify DFSR attributes to establish its primacy in replication.
Performing Authoritative Restore: Follow the detailed steps outlined in Microsoft’s guide for performing an authoritative synchronization of DFSR-replicated SYSVOL. This involves modifying DFSR attributes and initiating an authoritative SYSVOL restore.
Replication Monitoring: After the authoritative restore, closely monitor the replication status. Ensure that the previously blank or corrupted SYSVOL on DC ‘A’ now correctly replicates from DC ‘B’.
Validation and Cleanup: Validate the integrity of the SYSVOL contents on all DCs. Confirm successful synchronization across the domain using tools like dcdiag, repadmin, and DFS Management Console. Perform any necessary cleanup tasks as per the Microsoft guide.
Known Side Effects: Authoritative SYSVOL restore is an advanced operation that can impact AD replication and requires careful execution. Incorrect implementation can lead to broader replication issues within the AD environment.
Additional Notes: Authoritative SYSVOL restore should only be performed by experienced administrators. A clear understanding of AD and DFSR mechanisms is crucial. Please always make sure that reliable backups are available before proceeding.
Public Links: For detailed instructions, refer to Microsoft’s guide on AD Forest Recovery – Performing an authoritative synchronization of DFSR-replicated SYSVOL.
Identify the Domain Controller with the Correct SYSVOL Content: Review the SYSVOL folder on each domain controller to determine which contains the correct and up-to-date content. This may involve comparing the contents of the SYSVOL shares or examining the contents of Group Policy Objects (GPOs) stored within SYSVOL.
Access the DFS Management Console: Open the DFS Management Console on one of the domain controllers. This console provides tools for managing Distributed File System Replication (DFSR), including configuring replication groups and connections.
Navigate to the Replication Group: In the DFS Management Console, navigate to the replication group that controls SYSVOL replication. This replication group typically includes all domain controllers within the domain.
Modify the DFSR Configuration: Locate the configuration options related to SYSVOL replication within the replication group settings. Look for an option to designate a specific domain controller as the authoritative server for SYSVOL replication.
Select the Authoritative Domain Controller: Choose the domain controller you identified in Step 1 as having the correct SYSVOL content. Select this domain controller as the authoritative server for SYSVOL replication by modifying the DFSR configuration accordingly.
Apply the Configuration Change: Save the changes to the DFSR configuration. This action effectively designates the selected domain controller as the authoritative source for SYSVOL replication within the replication group.
Ensure Replication of Configuration Changes: Confirm that the changes made to the DFSR configuration are successfully replicated to all other domain controllers within the replication group. This ensures consistency across the environment and prevents conflicts or inconsistencies in SYSVOL replication.
Monitor Replication Status: Monitor the DFSR replication status to verify that the designated authoritative domain controller replicates SYSVOL content to other domain controllers. This helps ensure that the corrective change has been applied effectively and that SYSVOL replication functions as expected.