Why you need to Decommission Exchange 2003 Servers after your Exchange 2007 Upgrade

Posted on January 8, 2009 by Brien Posey in Exchange Server with 0 Comments

The Exchange Server 2003 Setup program was designed from the very beginning to allow you to uninstall Exchange server should you have the need. Even so, removing Exchange Server 2003 from and Exchange Server 2007 organization requires a little bit more work than what you might initially expect. In this article, I’ll show you the trick to removing the last Exchange 2003 server from your Exchange 2007 organization.

Before you get started…

Before you get started, I just want to quickly say that if you’re reading this that I am assuming that you are actually ready to remove Exchange Server 2003 from your organization. That being the case, you should make sure that all of the mailboxes and public folders have been removed from the Exchange 2003 servers prior to using the technique that I’m about to show you.

What is the Recipient Update Service?

The real trick to removing Exchange Server 2003 from your organization is reassigning the Recipient Update Service. Setup will not allow you to uninstall Exchange Server 2003 until the Recipient Update Service has been reassigned to another server. This is ironic since Exchange Server 2007 doesn’t even use the Recipient Update Service. Even so, this task must be performed.

Reassigning the Recipient Update Service is fairly easy. Begin the process by opening the Exchange System Manager. Now, navigate through the console tree to Recipients | Recipient Update Service. When you do, the console screen should look something like what you see in Figure A.

Figure A – an enterprise listing and a domain listing for the Recipient Update Service

Notice in the figure that there are two listings for the Recipient Update Service. There is an enterprise listing, and a domain listing.

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At this point in the process, you must right click on the enterprise listing for the Recipient Update Service, and then choose the Properties command from the resulting shortcut menu. When you do, the Exchange System Manager will display the Recipient Update Service properties sheet, shown in Figure B.

Figure B – the Recipient Update Service properties sheet allows you to change the Exchange server to which the Recipient Update Service is assigned

If you look at the Figure B, you will notice that the Recipient Update Service has been assigned to a specific Exchange server. By default, the server that is listed is an Exchange 2003 server. You must click the Browse button, and then choose an Exchange 2007 server from the list. After doing so, click OK to close the Recipient Update Service properties sheet.

Now it’s time to turn our attention to the domain listing for the Recipient Update Service. We will do the exact same thing for this listing that we did for the enterprise listing. Right-click on the domain listing and choose the Properties command from the resulting shortcut menu to reveal the Recipient Update Services properties sheet. Now, click the Browse button next to the listing for the Exchange server, and choose an Exchange 2007 server from the list. Click OK to close the properties sheet, and were done.

Conclusion

Now that the Recipient Update Service has been reassigned you should have no trouble uninstalling Exchange server 2003. Simply run the Exchange Server 2003 Setup program, and then use the Change/Remove option to complete the uninstallation process.

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