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Exchange 2003 Stability if the first GC in Domain is removed

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  • Exchange 2003 Stability if the first GC in Domain is removed

    In need of advice prior to carrying this out.

    We had an unsuccessful transition of Windows 2003 SBS server 7 weeks ago. This meant that we couldn't bring the server back up. As we had a Windows 2003 Standard R2 box as a DC in the domain, we were able to seize the FSMO roles to that DC. remove all entries regarding the SBS server being a DC and make the W2k3 R2 Standard box a GC. The SBS box was then rebuilt with W2k3 Standard Edition R2 and Exchange 2003 only installed on it. The domain and mail services were restored.

    I then made our third server a DC, installed DNS AD integrated and made it a GC. All FSMO roles were then transferred to it using ntdsutil. The domain has never been unstable during this time and has been 3 weeks in its present state.

    I know need to DCPROMO the original DC out, remove it as a GC and then reinstall it with Windows 2003 64 bit Standard R2, as I will be installing Exchange 2007 64 bit Standard edition.

    The current Exchange 2003 system seems to be looking at this computer for its Config though it does detect two GCs. When I remove the system from the domain by DCPROMO, will Exchange be effected? Also, would it matter if I brought the server back up as the same server name or should it be different?

    Any advice would be welcomed. Also with regards to making the 64 bit server a DC afterwards and then installing Exchange 2007 and migrating to it.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Virtual; 22nd July 2008, 18:21.

  • #2
    Re: Exchange 2003 Stability if the first GC in Domain is removed

    Exchange will stop working if you remove the domain controller that it is currently using. While Exchange will look for another DC eventually, it doesn't do it immediately.
    Therefore what I would suggest is that you stop all of the Exchange services before you run DCPROMO. Once the DCPROMO has finished and you have rebooted the former domain controller BUT before you wipe it (ie so it reboots and comes back as a member server), restart the Exchange server. That will force it to find the previous domain controller is not a domain controller (so no long waits while that times out) and then it will find another GC/DC to use.
    Once you have done that, drop the old DC in to a workgroup and reboot then wipe.

    Any particular reason why you want to make the new server with Exchange 2007 on it a DC? That isn't best practise. If you have other servers that are domain controllers then leave them as that.
    If you insist, then ensure that all DC work, including making it a GC is done before you install Exchange 2007. Remember also that once Exchange is installed the server's role cannot be changed. If it is a DC it must stay a DC. Changing the domain role of an Exchange server after Exchange is installed is not supported and will usually break Exchange.

    Simon.
    --
    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

    Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
    More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
    Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
    In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

    Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Exchange 2003 Stability if the first GC in Domain is removed

      Brilliant advice. Thanks for the quick response.

      Know what you mean regarding DC and Exchange. I am making it a DC for redundancy as only 1 server will be a DC after reinstalling.

      Is there a recommended way or do you know of any issues moving Exchange 2003 mailboxes to 2007 or the best way of making the move and then removing Exchange 2003 from the Exchange Organisation.

      Thanks once again.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Exchange 2003 Stability if the first GC in Domain is removed

        Once you put Exchange on to a domain controller you lose any redundancy in the domain as far as Exchange is concerned. Exchange will only talk to itself for domain functionality - it will never talk to any other domain controllers. Think SBS.

        The most reliable method is swing. This involves replicating the public and system folders to the new server, then using move mailbox to move the mailboxes before following the article on Technet to remove the last legacy server.

        Simon.
        --
        Simon Butler
        Exchange MVP

        Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
        More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
        Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
        In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

        Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Exchange 2003 Stability if the first GC in Domain is removed

          Thanks once again.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Exchange 2003 Stability if the first GC in Domain is removed

            Have carried out the DCPromo out of the DC as below and stopped Exchange services and rebooted the Exchange server but it is not picking up the other DC. I have rebooted a couple of times. AD is ok on the one and only DC and I can log on as normal. I can MSTSC in to the Exchange server and the applications log refers to various problems, such as.

            This one:

            Event Type: Error
            Event Source: MSExchangeAL
            Event Category: Service Control
            Event ID: 8250
            Date: 7/25/2008
            Time: 9:29:58 PM
            User: N/A
            Computer: Name of our Exchange Server
            Description:
            The Win32 API call 'DsGetDCNameW' returned error code [0x54b] The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted. The service could not be initialized. Make sure that the operating system was installed properly.
            For more information, click http://www.microsoft.com/contentredirect.asp.

            This one:

            Event Type: Error
            Event Source: Userenv
            Event Category: None
            Event ID: 1053
            Date: 7/25/2008
            Time: 9:29:26 PM
            User: NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM
            Computer: Name of Exchange Server
            Description:
            Windows cannot determine the user or computer name. (The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted. ). Group Policy processing aborted.
            For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

            This one:

            Event Type: Error
            Event Source: MSExchangeDSAccess
            Event Category: Topology
            Event ID: 2102
            Date: 7/25/2008
            Time: 9:29:10 PM
            User: N/A
            Computer: Name of Exchange computer
            Description:
            Process MAD.EXE (PID=234. All Domain Controller Servers in use are not responding:
            Computername.domain.local (This event shows our one and only DC)

            For more information, click http://www.microsoft.com/contentredirect.asp.

            This one:

            Event Type: Error
            Event Source: MSExchangeAL
            Event Category: LDAP Operations
            Event ID: 8026
            Date: 7/25/2008
            Time: 9:28:11 PM
            User: N/A
            Computer: Name of Exchange Server
            Description:
            LDAP Bind was unsuccessful on directory 'One and only dc.domain.local' for distinguished name ''. Directory returned error:[0x51] Server Down. DC=Our Domain,DC=local
            For more information, click http://www.microsoft.com/contentredirect.asp.


            and many more.

            The event viewer on the one and only DC does not come up with any errors. The only different event is regarding replication no longer being possible with the demoted DC.

            I have since been informed by my colleague that when he recovered the Exchange server and AD, after we lost the SBS server, that some registry changes were made to point at the DC that we have just removed. When I search for the name of the old DC I have just removed, it still appears as the root domain and in a couple of entries in the registry of the Exhange server.

            The Exchange server IS, MTA Stacks and System Attendant services state that they were started. When you restart the System Attendant service, they then don't Start.

            DNS still has entries of the old DC as being a DC.

            Any ideas? I am considering DCPromoing the old Server up again.
            Last edited by Virtual; 25th July 2008, 22:28.

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            • #7
              Re: Exchange 2003 Stability if the first GC in Domain is removed

              Have you reconfigured the NIC on the Exchange server to use the new DC for DNS and removed the old DC?

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              • #8
                Re: Exchange 2003 Stability if the first GC in Domain is removed

                Thanks for the reply.

                DNS points to the existing DC for DNS and is AD integrated. There is still an entry for the DNS that was on the old DC. The DC I have demoted is currently a member server.

                Thanks

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Exchange 2003 Stability if the first GC in Domain is removed

                  Thanks for the comment regarding DNS Joe. It was that. The Primary DNS server was pointing to the demoted DC and the secondary to the existing DC. I then realised that when the DC had been demoted, I hadn't checked DNS. DNS was still active but of course no zones were there. I disabled DNS on it, made sure that Exchange only pointed at the existing DC and rebooted the demoted DC. I then started the Exchange services and it came straight up.

                  Will know this for another time.

                  Thanks Joe and Sembee, your responses made this painless and is good to have a forum as good as this one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Exchange 2003 Stability if the first GC in Domain is removed

                    Glad to help and glad you got it worked out.

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