About System State

The system-specific data that comprises System State includes the registry, the COM+ Class Registration database, and boot and system files. The Certificate Services database will also be included if the server is operating as a certificate server. If the server is a domain controller, the data also includes Active Directory services database and SYSVOL directory. The System State data is backed up only as a collection. However, you can use the Active Directory Recovery Agent to restore individual objects.

If you are restoring Active Directory to a computer that is a domain controller, you must start the computer in safe mode and use the Directory Services Restore Mode to perform the restore. System State cannot be restored unless the target computer is in Directory Services Restore Mode. To restore System State data to a server that is not a domain controller, you can perform a basic restore.

If you have more than one domain controller in the network and you want Active Directory replicated to the other domain controllers, you must perform an authoritative restore of the Active Directory.

To perform an authoritative restore of the Active Directory, you must run Microsoft’s Ntdsutil utility after the Backup Exec restore job completes and you have restored the System State data, but before you restart the server. An authoritative restore ensures that the restored data is replicated to all of the servers. For more information about authoritative restore and the Ntdsutil utility, see your Microsoft documentation.


A System State backup is always a full backup. Therefore, when restoring, only the most recent backup of the System State must be restored. You should not cancel a System State restore job. Canceling this job could leave the system unusable.

See Restoring System State.

About System State