by Daniel Petri - January 7, 2009
Windows Server 2008 has a new feature allowing administrators to create snapshots of the Active Directory database for offline use. There are quite a few scenarios for using AD snapshots. For example, if someone has changes properties of AD objects and you need to revert to their previous values, you can mount a copy of a previous snapshot to an alternate port and easily export the required attributes for every object that was changed. These values can then be imported into the running instance of AD DS. You can also restore deleted objects or simply view objects for diagnostic purposes.
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The process of working with AD snapshots is described in detail in my "Working with Active Directory Snapshots in Windows Server 2008" and "Exporting Information from Active Directory Snapshots in Windows Server 2008" articles, and there's more info in the "Directory Service Comparison Tool" article. If you've read the above articles, you've learned that the NTDSUTIL command is nested. Therefore, you can enter the entire sequence of commands in one long line, and put that into a batch file or script, then configure that batch or script to run at a specific time by using Task Scheduler. In order to automate the creation of an Active Directory snapshot follow these steps: 1. Create a new batch file with the following lines:
ntdsutil snapshot "activate instance ntds" create quit quit
Save the file as "ad-snapshot.bat" or similar, and place it in a location of your choice. I used C:'Scripts. 2. Check to see if the...