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Best Practices for Sysvol Maintenance
Article ID: 324175 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q324175
The System Volume (Sysvol) is a shared directory that stores the server copy of the domain's public files that must be shared for common access and replication throughout a domain. The Sysvol folder on a domain controller contains the following items:
Sysvol uses junction points to manage a single instance store. Junction points are also referred to as reparse points (directory junctions and volume mount points). A junction point is a physical location on a hard disk that points to data that is located elsewhere on your hard disk or on another storage device. Junction points are created when you create a mounted drive. The following diagram is an example of a typical Sysvol structure for a Windows 2000-based domain controller:
In a single instance store, the physical files only exist one time on the file system. However, in Sysvol, the physical files are located in the following locations:
\Sysvol | |____<Domain> | |____Policies | |____Scripts | |____Enterprise | |____Policies | |____Scripts | |____Staging | |____Domain | |____Enterprise | |____Staging Areas | |____Enterprise junction> = Sysvol\Staging\Enterprise<Br/> | |____<Windows2000_domain.microsoft.com> junction> = Sysvol\Staging\Domain | |____Sysvol | |____Enterprise junction> = Sysvol\Enterprise | |____<Windows2000_domain.microsoft.com> junction> = Sysvol\Domain |
This configuration maintains data consistency by making sure that a single instance of the data set exists. Additionally, this configuration permits more than one access point for the data set. For example, Sysvol\Domain or Sysvol\Sysvol\Windows2000_domain.microsoft.com, as described in the example that appears earlier in this article, allows for redundancy but does not allow for duplicate files.
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Junctions graft the namespace (any bounded area in which a specific name can be resolved) of the destination file system location to an NTFS volume. An underlying reparse point permits NTFS to transparently remap an operation to the destination object. As a result, if you modify the data in the Sysvol structure, changes occur directly on these physical files. Additionally, if you perform a cut-and-paste operation or a copy-and-paste operation with these folders in the Sysvol structure that contains junction points, the cut-and-paste operation or the copy-and-paste operation occur in the junction point information.
Microsoft recommends that you avoid performing a cut-and-paste operation or a copy-and-paste operation on the Sysvol structure, especially when you perform the paste operation on the same server. If you perform a cut-and-paste operation or a copy-and-paste operation on the Sysvol structure, a copy of the junction point information is created. This does not result in a copy of the actual data. Instead, a copy of the junction point information only is created. If you modify any of the files that appear in that folder, you modify the source files directly.
Microsoft recommends that you do not modify the Sysvol structure. This recommendation also applies to backup and restore operations of the Sysvol structure. By default, if you back up Sysvol by using NTBackup.exe, the backup file includes a backup of the folder's junction point information. If you restore a Sysvol structure from a backup file to a different location on the same server, do not restore the junction point information. To do so, use the advanced restore options.
Microsoft recommends that you do not modify any files directly to Sysvol without understanding the behavior of junction points and how these points affect Active Directory in your enterprise.
Note Under Windows Server 2003, if you copy %systemroot%\SYSVOL, you do not copy the junction points. However, under Windows 2000, if you copy %systemroot%\SYSVOL, you do copy the junction points.
Article ID: 324175 - Last Review: December 3, 2007 - Revision: 5.5