Cloning a drive can also clone it’s ID, and mess up DFS synchronization and AD functionality in general

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Yesterday I worked with MS tech support to solve a problem at a client with a new server that it turns out I created months ago. The problem I was having was that the sysvol was not syncing between the old and new servers. Also, AD was looking to the old server for some AD functions when it should have been looking to the new server, which holds all the FSMO roles. The question was why? I could not decommission the old server until this was resolved.

I replaced the hard drive in the old server several months ago because the boot partition was too small and was always full. So I installed a larger HD but had left the original hard drive also connected as a secondary drive. It was not booting from this drive, so I assumed it would not cause any trouble. It turns out that DFS looks to the volume ID to identify a drive when syncing, and when you clone a drive the identical volume ID can end up being cloned too. So DFS was finding two drives where there should have been one, and was therefore confused.

Once I took the older drive offline, DFS syncing operated normally. All is now well. So lesson learned. If you clone a drive with Active Directory data on it, do NOT leave the original drive also attached to that computer. If you want to use that drive for anything it should be wiped first.

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