The System State is Microsoft's name for a bundle of critical components in Windows Server 2003 that must be backed up and restored together.

The System State includes the Registry, the boot file and the COM+ registration database. In a domain controller, the System State also includes the Active Directory and the system volume (sysvol).

It is good practice to back up the System State before performing any major alterations on the system, such as adding a new application, driver or hotfix.

In order to successfully restore the System State, the %SystemRoot% folder and the Active Directory databases pretty much need to go back where they were. If there have been changes, the restore may fail.

Be sure to check the following if you receive a failure:

  • The %SystemRoot% folder must be restored to the same drive letter it was backed up from.
  • The %SystemRoot% folder must be restored to the same folder it was backed up from.
  • If sysvol or other Active Directory databases were located on another volume, that volume must exist and have the same drive letters. However, the size of the volume can be different.
  • In a System State backup, you must back up the Winnt\Sysvol folder as well. Similarly, you must select this option during the restore operation.

Please let us know how useful you find this tip by rating it below. Do you have a useful Windows tip, timesaver or workaround to share? Submit it to our

    Requires Free Membership to View

monthly tip contest and you could win a prize!

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80 K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20 years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in October 2005

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.