Domain Controller Virtual Cloning

One of the best new features of Windows Server 2012 is virtual cloning.

The ASKPFE blog has an excellent article covering this new feature:

Tom Moser here with a post on one of the new ADDS features in Windows Server 2012; Virtual Domain Controller Cloning.

Until now, cloning, snapshotting, copying, or pretty much doing anything but rebuilding from scratch to a virtual domain controller wasn’t just unsupported; it had the potential to be really bad for your directory. Cloning or restoring snapshots of DCs could result in USN rollbacks or lingering objects, just to name a couple of problems.

Starting in Windows Server 2012, we now support DC cloning as well as snapshot restoration of domain controllers. With the RTM bits available, I found myself rebuilding my lab and took the opportunity to document the process to demonstrate just how easy it is to clone virtual domain controllers with Windows Server 2012.


There are a few base infrastructure requirements to take advantage of DC cloning.

  • The hypervisor must support VM-GenerationID. Hyper-V running on Windows Server 2012 supports this feature. Other virtualization vendors will have the ability to implement this as well, so check with your vendor to see if it’s supported.
  • The source virtual DC must be running Windows Server 2012.
  • The PDC emulator role holder must be online and available to the cloned DC and must be running Windows Server 2012.

There are a few other steps and requirements and I’ll take you through those now.

Read the rest of the article here.

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