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Why did my Windows 2003 Server hang during my online check for critical updates?

Why did my Windows 2003 server hang during my Windows online update for critical updates? I could do nothing to restart it normally. After a forced restart, my Active Directory does not function, as there are now domain settings that are lost. Please tell me my system backup will restore my settings. I am a humble IT teacher trying to manage a "user-friendly" network. Any suggestions to prevent future problems like this would be appreciated. I did make sure there were no open sessions, etc., and all applications were closed. I did the update to avoid possible attacks and down time -- how ironic!
Yikes. I've had similar problems in the past. Your only true solution is to have a full backup on hand from which to restore your system. If you have such a backup, as you seem to indicate, that is your best option. If that fails, you may need to perform an in-place upgrade install to repair the OS. Possibly perform a DCPromo downgrade then upgrade back to a domain controller then re-configure your settings. Yes, very ugly and you'll have to manually reconfigure everything.

In the future, always backup immediately before deploying new updates. Second, download the updates manually to a local drive before launching the install process. It is possible the freeze and failure occurred because of network latency issues with downloading the patch.

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