Els's blog

Monday, July 03, 2006

Lingering Objects

Last week I taught my Active Directory In-Depth course, so today one more blog on AD.

This one is about lingering objects, an annoying phenomenon that could cause deleted objects to return in your Active Directory database.

Lingering objects will appear if one of your domain controllers hasn't been able to synchronize with its replication partners during a tombstone lifetime.

This is what happens: you create a number of objects. These objects will nicely replicate to all your DCs. Then, for some reason 1 of the DCs can no longer replicate with the others (due to a network problem, DNS failures, issues with time synchronization, ...).
In the mean time you delete a user from your database. The problem DC does not replicate this change however and the object still exists in that database.
After a tombstone lifetime (default 60 days, and 180 days if the forest was created on Windows Server 2003 SP1) the deleted objects are actually removed from the AD database on the good DCs, but the bad one still sees these objects as normal objects.
At that moment, you become aware of the problem. You solve the issues and try to replicate with the bad DC to get it up to date again.

Then, one of two things can happen.
  • If your DC is a Windows 2000 server, the bad DC will replicate with the good ones and the deleted objects will return in your environment.
  • If your DC is a Windows Server 2003 machine, the bad DC will not be allowed to replicate because it has been out of date for more than one tombstone lifetime.
How do you fix this?
  1. Use repadmin (Support Tools) to remove the lingering objects from the bad DC.
    repadmin /removelingeringobjects 'DNS name bad DC' 'GUID good DC' 'Directory partition DN' /advisory_mode
    For example: repadmin /removelingeringobjects dc1.example.com A0AE6093-15F5-4DB8-836B-4495E3A15396 dc=example,dc=com /advisory_mode
    This will display a list of lingering objects in the Directory Services event log (look for event id 1946). Then you can run the same command again, this time without the advisory_mode switch. This will actually remove all lingering objects from the problem DC (look for event id 1945).
  2. At this point, you still won't be able to replicate with the bad DC. To fix this, add the following registry key:
    Allow Replication With Divergent and Corrupt Partner
  3. Force replication: everything should be fine now.
  4. After replication succeeded, do not forget to reset the above registry key to 0!!
This week, I'll be looking at Vista again. So you can expect more Vista blogs!


  • Is this method is also applicable on dc with usn rollback issues??

    By Blogger Monsieur Myswissbank, at 3:16 PM  

  • Hello, the method to recover from lingering objects can not be used to recover from usn rollback.
    Take a look at my previous post, there you will find the methods to recover from USN rollback.

    By Blogger Els, at 3:29 PM  

  • Hi

    From witch dc do i start repadmin /removelingeringobjects? from a good DC or from a bad DC?

    By Anonymous Ivan, at 11:45 AM  

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