Article ID: 198793 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q198793
In Microsoft Windows 2000 and in Microsoft Windows Server 2003, the Active Directory database incorporates a garbage collection process that runs independently on each domain controller in the enterprise.
Garbage collection is a housekeeping process that is designed to free space within the Active Directory database. In Windows 2000 and in the original release version of Windows Server 2003, this process runs on every domain controller in the enterprise with a default lifetime interval of 12 hours. You can change this interval by modifying the garbageCollPeriod attribute in the enterprise-wide DS configuration object (NTDS).
The path of the object in the Contoso.com domain would resemble the following:
CN=Directory Service,CN=Windows NT,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=CONTOSO,DC=COMUse an Active Directory editing tool to set the garbageCollPeriod attribute. Supported tools include Adsiedit.msc, Ldp.exe, and Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI) scripts.
When an object is deleted, it is not removed from the Active Directory database. Instead, the object is instead marked for deletion at a later date. This mark is then replicated to other domain controllers. Therefore, the garbage collection process starts by removing the remains of previously deleted objects from the database. These objects are known as tombstones. Next, the garbage collection process deletes unnecessary log files. Finally, the process starts a defragmentation thread to claim additional free space.
In addition, there are two methods to defragment the Active Directory database in Windows 2000 and in Windows Server 2003. One method is an online defragmentation operation that runs as part of the garbage collection process. The advantage of this method is that the server does not have to be taken offline for the operation to run. However, this method does not reduce the size of the Active Directory database file (Ntds.dit). The other method takes the server offline and defragments the database by using the Ntdsutil.exe utility. This approach requires that the database to start in repair mode. The advantage of this method is that the database is resized and unused space is removed. Therefore, and the size of the Ntds.dit file is reduced. To use this method, the domain controller must be taken offline.
Changes to tombstone lifetime in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1The default tombstone lifetime (TSL) in Windows Server 2003 has proven to be too short. For example, a prestaged domain controller may be in transit for longer than 60 days. An administrator may not resolve a replication failure or bring an offline domain controller into operation until the TSL is exceeded. Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) increases the TSL from 60 to 180 days in the following scenarios:
Article ID: 198793 - Last Review: February 22, 2007 - Revision: 3.4