"The directory datatype cannot be converted to / from a native DS datatype" error in Windows

Applies to: Windows Server, version 1909 (Datacenter, Standard)Windows Server, version 1903Windows Server 2019, all versions



You are running or managing applications that use information from the Active Directory directory service in Windows. You may receive errors when the applications use information for linked attributes. For example, you may receive the following error:
The directory datatype cannot be converted to / from a native DS datatype.
In this case, when you export the affected object by using the LDIFDE utility (Ldifde.exe), an attribute is listed. However, the attribute has no value.

This may be the expected behavior when the value is long. But the next line in the output has the next attribute. For a group and its managedBy attribute, the output may resemble the following:
showInAddressBook: <Address Book object DN>
legacyExchangeDN: <X500 name>
groupType: -2147483640

In a database dump with the RootDSE command verb dumpdatabase, the affected groups will be shown as follows:

38661  29827  1      1790   true  -    -            4      3      Group-DN Group-DN -      655368 6d03f309-ded2-41d5-9794-081d40343876 4        
objectclass: 655368, 65536   
DNT  Base   BDNT   DelTime   DeactiveTime   USNChanged  NCDNT  Data                                                                                                                                                 38661  1      38662  -                   -                   55247898     1790   -            
38661  36     2      -                   -                   -            -      - 

The link attribute ID is always 36, and the link partner is always 2.

For information about how to dump the database, see How to Use the Online Dbdump feature of Active Directory.


An application can add an object link that refers to the internal root object of the Active Directory database. This object does not have a name or any other properties that are usable for applications. Therefore, the client applications display error messages that do not indicate the cause of a problem.


If you use domain controllers that are running Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1, the problem does not occur. But the object with this invalid link is still in the database. You can find the groups affected for a domain controller when you search the NTDS.DMP file, as follows:
findstr /i /c:" 36     2      -                   - " ntds.dmp
       38661  36     2      -                   -                   -            -      -                     

Windows Server 2003:

You cannot resolve the problem by deleting the attribute. If you delete the attribute, the following error is logged in the Application Directory Services log:

Event Type:Error
Event Source:NTDS Replication

Event Category:Replication
Event ID:1694

Active Directory could not update the following object with an attribute value change received from the following source domain controller. This is because an error occurred during the application of the changes to Active Directory on the local domain controller.


<group DN>
Object GUID:

Source domain controller:

<GUID-based DC name>


Attribute value:


Attribute value GUID:




This operation will be tried again at the next scheduled replication. The synchronization of the local domain controller with the source domain controller is blocked until the update problem is corrected.

Additional Data
Error value:

The replication system encountered an internal error.

If this error is logged, the object is in a broken state. To achieve the original state or to delete the object, you can only run an authoritative restore on the object. To repair objects that exhibit this behavior, we recommend that you delete and rebuild the object by using the LDIFDE utility.

Caution All back-links are removed when you delete an object.

If you have to keep certain attributes that you cannot set the value on, such as the objectSid attribute or the SidHistory attribute, delete and then undelete the object. (Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 retains the SidHistory attribute on when you delete an object.) When you delete and undelete an object, you do not have to run a semantic checker.

However, no tools currently exist to recover the attributes and the back-links. To restore group memberships, you can use the Groupadd.exe tool. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

840001 How to restore deleted user accounts and their group memberships in Active Directory

If you use the Microsoft Provisioning System, you can use the system to recover the attributes and the back-links.

Some backup and recovery applications may offer a more convenient way of removing these problematic attributes. The application must let you select attributes during a restore operation. For example, an application must let you exclude the managedBy attribute when you restore a deleted object.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section. This problem was first corrected in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1.