Directory Services Restore Mode

What is DSRM?

Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) is a special boot mode for repairing or recovering Active Directory. It is used to log on to the computer when Active Directory has failed or needs to be restored.

Note: Do not confuse DSRM with Safe Mode. Active Directory will still attempt to start in Safe Mode and if it fails you will not be able to log on. Instead use DSRM.

You can log on to DSRM by using a special DSRM password that you set when you promoted the domain controller. Use the logon account name .\Administrator (language may vary).

Windows Server 2008-2012: DSRM is rarely needed on Windows Server 2008-2012. AD can be stopped and re-started without a reboot, making DSRM unnecessary. DSRM is only needed when doing a domain-wide restore or a forest-wide restore, or when AD is so damaged that it will not boot.

Windows Server 2003: To load Active Directory you must boot DSRM. U-Move will offer to automatically reboot the computer to DSRM and resume the interview where it left off.

How to Boot DSRM

To manually boot in Directory Services Restore Mode, press the F8 key repeatedly. Do this immediately after BIOS POST screen, before the Windows logo appears. (Timing can be tricky; if the Windows logo appears you waited too long.) A text menu menu will appear. Use the up/down arrow keys to select Directory Services Restore Mode or DS Restore Mode. Then press the Enter key.

How to Log on to DSRM

After booting DSRM (see above) click on Switch User -> Other User. When prompted for the logon account name type .\Administrator

The initial logon prompt will show the account name MyDomain\Administrator, where MyDomain is the name of the domain. This is incorrect and will not work. You must click on Switch User and manually type the name .\Administrator.

U-Move protects your Active Directory domain controller by offering strong backup and recovery protection, along with advanced upgrade capability.

See also Changing the Domain Administrator Password.