What is Restartable AD DS?

Earlier to Windows Server 2008, you needed to put the Domain Controller into DSRM mode to perform Active Directory maintenance tasks. With the help of Restartable AD DS, it is no longer required to restart a domain controller into DSRM mode.

First introduced with Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Restartable AD DS feature allows Active Directory Administrators to perform server maintenance tasks such as applying updates and offline defragmentation of the Active Directory database, without a need for restarting the Domain Controller in DSRM mode.

Domain controller running Windows Server 2008 and later operating systems implement Active Directory Domain Services service in the Services snap-in which can be stopped to bring the Active Directory database offline. Thus, providing an opportunity to perform the AD maintenance tasks.

The Restartable AD DS feature provides the following benefits and restrictions:

  • Reduces the time that is required for performing maintenance tasks.
  • Other services running on that domain controller can server client requests
  • Continue to log on to the domain controller using a domain admin account while AD DS service is stopped
  • Continue to run the other services running on that domain controller and server the client requests.
  • You are not allowed to run DCPROMO while AD DS service is stopped but you can use /Forceremoval switch with DCPROMO.
  • You cannot perform a system restore while the AD DS service is stopped. The system restore operation must always be executed from DSRM mode.
  • Stopping the Active Directory Domain Service will impact the ability to authenticate domain clients and Active Directory applications.

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