system is booting in safe mode – directory service repair

Microsoft SBS 2010 is a strong alternative to OS X Server. Pricewise it’s more expensive than OS X Server but it’s a reliable server platform an a viable alternative ot OSX Server especially if you have to host Windows clients too.

Today I had to experience a rough glitch that was easy to fix, but the fix wasn’t obvious.

After rebooting a SBS 2011 Server it booted into directory service repair mode. Ups  – what’s that? Server 2008 R2 somehow goes into Active Directory maintenance mode resulting in the Servers inability to log in via Active Directory accounts. No AD user was able to log in – OMG. A Reboot didn’t fix the problem. The server kept booting into safe mode.

I got the message: System is booting in safe mode – directory service repair

My first reaction was to restore form backup, but the restore failed because of too little disk space on the ESXi 5.1 datastore. So I called a Windows trainer who luckily could help out within minutes!

The fix was quite simple:
1) Log in with a local administrator account. This account is created at installation of the SBS. Hopefully you remember the password.
2) You have to issue the following command: bcdedit /deletevalue safeboot
3) Reboot

There is a Technet Article about this: http://technet.microsoft.com/de-de/library/cc794729(v=ws.10).aspx

There is an article in the VMware Knowledge Base that describes how to get out of this situation fron within the GUI: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2005934

Here is an other article covering the same problem: http://absoblogginlutely.net/2011/03/fixed-server-continually-boots-into-safe-mode/

Puh! After a reboot everything was fine again. I’d almost spend my whole easter reinstalling the server. Sometimes you’d just need to know the right guy!

Happy Easter,

Jens