Section 2.7: Planning System Recovery with Automated System Recovery (ASR)

Windows Server 2003 provides the ASR feature which replaces the Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) in Windows 2000. It is a last-resort, system recovery feature for all components of the operating system, including the system state, system services, disk signatures, and partition layouts. An ASR restore will recreate the exact state of the operating system at the time the ASR backup was performed. Therefore, for ASR to be effective, every time you successfully edit your system's configuration, you should backup the configuration. To perform an ASR backup, do the following:

• Click on the START button to display the Start Menu

• On the Start Menu, point to ALL PROGRAMS



• Then click on BACKUP to start the Backup Utility

• On the initial screen of the Backup utility, click on the automated system RECOVERY WIZARD button

• Choose a backup location for a complete system state backup of your computer (do not choose the floppy disk)

• After Backup is finished, insert a blank, formatted floppy disk in drive A: and press OK when prompted to let the wizard copy files to the disk

To use the ASR to repair a damaged Windows Server 2003 installation, do the following:

• Place the Windows Server 2003 Installation CD in the CD-Rom

• Then restart the computer

• Press F2 on the keyboard at the beginning of text-mode Setup when prompted at the bottom of the screen

• After your computer restarts, it will automatically begin Backup and start a Restore operation from the backup you created when making the ASR disk

• When prompted to choose whether you want to continue installing Windows 2000 or repair your current installation, press R on the keyboard to start repairing the installation

• When prompted to choose whether you want to repair your system using the Recovery Console or the emergency repair process, press R on the keyboard to use the emergency repair process

• When prompted to choose whether you want to use Manual or Fast repair, press F on the keyboard to use Fast repair

• You will be prompted to press enter if you have the ERD and L if you do not, press ENTER

• When prompted, insert the ERD in drive A

• Then press enter

Note: The ASR performs a nonauthoritative restore of System State data. Thus, if you are restoring a domain controller you must use Ntdsutil.exe to make the restore authoritative for the domain.

However, before resorting to an ASR restore, there are a few alternatives that you should attempt for expediency and simplicity. These include the advanced boot options such as Safe Mode and Last Known Good Configuration.

• A Safe Mode startup starts the system with the minimum number of drivers enabled. Only keyboard, mouse, base video, monitor, disk, and default services are loaded. No network is available. This startup option can sometimes be used to get around a failed software application, service, or device driver that is causing system problems. If the system boots successfully, you can then disable or uninstall the problem driver, service, or application.

• The Last Known Good Configuration option starts the system normally but uses the Registry settings from the last successful logon to the system. This is useful to get past misconfiguration issues, especially regarding drivers that can cause system instability. A successful boot with this option will wipe out any setting or configuration changes that have occurred since the last successful logon. Once a logon occurs, these settings will then become the new Last Known Good configuration.