What is Windows Tombstone?

Tombstone Lifetime is the number of days an object (user, computer, printer, …) in a Windows Active Directory Domain remains available to be restored after it is deleted. If you are running Windows Server 2008 2012 2016 2019 or 2022 the default Tombstone lifetime is 180 days and very very few companies ever change that number.

Determine Tombstone Lifetime in Active Directory

There are two easy ways to determine what the Tombstone Lifetime is on you domain.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

how to determine the tombstone lifetime on a Windows Domain Controller
A – Command Line to Determine Tombstone Lifetime
  1. Launch a PowerShell or Windows Terminal as an administrator
  2. Enter this command, changing the domain information to yours
    Note that my test domain was URTECH4.LOCAL
(get-adobject "cn=Directory Service,cn=Windows NT,cn=Services,cn=Configuration,dc=urtech4,DC=local" -properties "tombstonelifetime").tombstonelifetime
B – ADSI Edit GUI to Determine Tombstone Lifetime
  1. Click the START button and type ADSI Edit, then launch ADSI Edit
  2. Right click on ADSI and select CONNECT TO
  3. On the SELECT A WELL KNOWN NAMING CONTENT, select CONFIGURATION and click OK
  4. Expand
    cn=Directory Service,dc=urtech4,DC=local
    cn=Services
    cn=Windows NT
    cn=Directory Service
  5. Right click on CN=OPTIONAL FEATURES
    1. Select PROPERTIES
    2. Scroll down to TOMBSTONELIFETIME


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