There are two things I tend to see a lot of at the moment. Firstly virtualisation is pretty hot right now. Everyone seems to be virtualising their infrastructure as much as possible, particularly their servers such as Domain Controllers. Secondly, some companies are too cheap (or just haven’t gotten around to it yet) to setup a proper backup and recovery solution for their servers. This often means they are relying on some ad-hoc Ghost or Acronis images for server recovery. This includes recovery of their Domain Controllers.
I specifically mention Domain Controllers twice there because both of these very common scenarios introduce the serious risk of a “USN rollback” condition occurring (USN stands for “update sequence number”). If you want to get deeply technical with the concept you can read this article from Microsoft:
If you just want the summary version, basically a USN rollback condition can occur when the Active Directory database is restored to an earlier version in an improper fashion. Microsoft makes available methods for restoring Active Directory databases such that the Domain Controller can properly resynchronise with its replication partners afterwards. Restoring in an improper fashion, such as restoring a DC using an earlier Ghost or Acronis image, or rolling back to an earlier snapshot of a virtualised DC, will cause a USN rollback condition to occur.
My licenses for Windows Vista Business Edition arrived last week and so I thought I would document the process I…