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  • Remove Exchange 2003 from a DC

    When I started here a few months ago the company only had 1 server, 2003 with Exchange Enterprise 2003 SP2 installed on it which was also the DC.

    Now, we are getting rid of the server as I have brought 3 new servers, 2x for DCs and fileshares and 1 for a dedicated Exchange server. I have installed Exchange on the new server and have moved everything across (mailboxes, public folders, RUS, address book, etc) and am ready to get rid of the server now.

    What I plan to do first is stop and disabled all the Exchange services on the old server and leave it for a week to make sure everything works OK. As long as it does I can look at getting rid.

    But, here are my questions and what I need help with.

    1. The Domain Controller doesn't replicate so I need to address this first. I had some problems last week trying to look at this so I need to take it steady. Firstly can I add another GC on one of the other DCs without affecting the first exchange? If yes then I can look at replication before the next step.
    2. As long as I can get replication working I'm happy with this, but the next step is can I remove Exchange from the old server WITHOUT damaging AD? If I can I assume I then uninstall Exchange from the old server and as long as AD still works after that, I can then demote the old server from being a DC and thats it?

    I'm going to take a VM of the DC/Exchange first just in case before I do anything.

    Thx!

  • #2
    Re: Remove Exchange 2003 from a DC

    The replication needs to be looked at first, because when Exchange is installed on a DC, it will ONLY use that DC. Furthermore any other Exchange servers will also ONLY use that DC for DC functionality.

    Therefore you will need to correct replication, then remove Exchange. At that point, ensure that you have another GC available. Turn off GC in AD Sites and Services and then restart the Exchange services on the new server. That will force Exchange to find another domain controller to use.

    You can then look to run DCPROMO to remove the Exchange server.

    Removing Exchange from a domain controller will not harm AD.

    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.

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    • #3
      Re: Remove Exchange 2003 from a DC

      Thanks Simon.

      So my plan should be this.

      1. Repair replication and confirm all is working OK.
      2. Make one of the new DCs a GC.
      3. Remove Exchange from the first server and old DC.
      4. Restart Exchange services on the new Exchange server so it finds the new DC and GC
      5. Once all working, DCPROMO the old DC into a member server.

      Sound about right?

      Think what I meant about harming AD was I'd heard if your remove Exchange from a DC it would break AD, but I think I probably meant if you demote the DC with exchange on to a member server it would damage AD, thats why you need to remove Exchange first? Correct?

      Thanks again!

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      • #4
        Re: Remove Exchange 2003 from a DC

        If you DCPROMO a machine with Exchange installed then it breaks Exchange. I have never seen a reference to removing Exchange breaking AD. I would believe everything that you have "heard".

        The key is to remove Exchange before you do anything with DCPROMO.

        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: Remove Exchange 2003 from a DC

          After you make one of the new DCs a GC, you need to ensure the old DC is no longer a GC before you restart the Exchange services.
          Gareth Howells

          BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

          Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

          Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

          "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

          "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

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          • #6
            Re: Remove Exchange 2003 from a DC

            Ok thanks.

            I have everything moved from the old DC/Exchange server onto the dedicated Exchange server now. Mailboxes/OAB/RUS/RoutingGroups/PublicFolders are all on the new server and the only things left of the old Exchange server are mailboxes for SMTP OLDDC, SystemAttendent and SystemMailbox, even though the SystemAttendent and SystemMailbox show up on the new server also.

            Suppose I could always stop Exchange on the old server to make sure nothing is relying on it that I've forgotten?

            First step first, I'll get the replication working.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Remove Exchange 2003 from a DC

              I am not a fan of the stop services and see what breaks method, because Exchange isn't designed to work in that way. If you stop the services, things will break because the other Exchange server is expecting the server to be there.

              Go through the Microsoft article on removing the server:
              http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=822931

              The mailboxes you have mentioned are system mailboxes and exist on every server and should not stop the removal procedure from completing.

              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


              • #8
                Re: Remove Exchange 2003 from a DC

                Thanks Simon, appreciate you help with this.

                I got replication working yesterday so now have 2 more working DCs and I have made one of them a global catalog in preparation too.

                I tried the stop exchange method on the old DC yesterday before you post, and everything seemed to flow fine, but I got Limited Connectivity showing up in Outlook which worried me, but I assume like you say this is because Exchange is no designed to be stopped like this so that could be the problem.

                I've followed that technote article already and done everything it asks, so I'm at the point now of uninstalling Exchange.

                Only question is when I go into the Recipient Update Services area on the new server, I can see it showing an (enterprise) and a (mydomain) update service. For both of these it shows my new server as the Exchange server, correct as I changed it to this, but for Domain Controller is still shows the original and old DC. Do I need to change this to point to my new DC before or after I uninstall Exchange from the old DC?

                So I assume the next steps should be this:-
                1. Uninstall Exchange from OLDDC
                2. Remove Global Catalog from OLDDC (NEWDC is already a GC)
                3. How long do I wait for this step?
                4. Restart Exchange Services on the New Exchange server so it finds the newdc global catalog.


                Does that sound right?

                Thanks!
                Last edited by AndyR; 17th June 2010, 01:17.

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                • #9
                  Re: Remove Exchange 2003 from a DC

                  Changing the domain controller is not listed in the removal article because Microsoft assume that everyone is going on best practises where Exchange is not installed on a DC.
                  You don't have to change it at this point, because Exchange must be on a global catalog.

                  Therefore remove Exchange using add/remove programs. Then reboot the machine.
                  On the second server, change the domain controller in ESM to another DC/GC, deselect the GC role on the now former Exchange server and restart the Exchange services. You don't have to wait very long, replication time at most. However restart Exchange services as soon as you have made the changes otherwise things get messy.
                  If the DC that Exchange wants to use isn't available, then it doesn't go looking for another one for about 35 minutes, during that time it is pretty much dead in the water.

                  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

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