What is “tombstoneLifetime” attribute and what is it used for?

Active Directory
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You can restore deleted Active Directory objects and their attributes using the Netwrix Auditor Object Restore for Active Directory tool integrated with Netwrix Auditor. The tool finds the information on deleted objects in the product snapshots (this data is stored in the Long-Term Archive, local file-based storage of audit data), and in AD tombstones.

To be able to restore deleted AD objects, you must adjust the AD tombstone lifetime property (set by default to 60 days in Windows 2003 and to 180 in Windows 2008 and above). Netwrix recommends setting it to 2 years (730 days). For example, if you change both values to 365 days, you will only be able to restore objects that were deleted within this period. You can specify any number of days, but a selected value should not exceed the Long-Term Archive retention period. Take into consideration that increasing tombstone lifetime may affect Active Directory performance and operability.

To adjust the tombstone lifetime attribute, perform the following steps:

NOTE: To perform this procedure, you will need the ADSI Edit utility. In Windows 2003 systems, this utility is a component of Windows Server Support Tools. If it has not been installed, download Windows Server Support Tools from the official website. On Windows 2008 systems and above, this component is installed together with the AD DS role.

  1. Navigate to Start –> Programs –> Administrative Tools –> ADSI Edit.
  2. Right-click the ADSI Edit node and select the Connect To option. In the Connection Settings dialog, enable the Select a well-known Naming Context option and select Configuration from the drop-down list.
  3. In the left pane, navigate to Configuration <You_Root_Domain_Name> –> CN=Configuration –> CN=Services –> CN=Windows NT –-> CN=Directory Service node. Right-click it and select Properties.
  4. In the CN=Directory Service Properties dialog, in the Attribute Editor tab, locate the “tombstoneLifetime” attribute.
  5. Select this attribute and click the Edit button.
  6. Set this attribute to any desired value (in days).
To modify the Long-Term Archive retention setting, perform the following steps:
  1. In Netwrix Auditor, navigate to the Settings node and select Long-Term Archive.
  2. Under Keep audit data for: enter the value (in months) that corresponds to your tombstone lifetime attribute setting.
NOTE: All data older than the specified value will be deleted automatically on next data collection.
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