Exchange 2003 on a Domain Controller
"Why does my Exchange 2003 server take 10 minutes or more to shutdown" and other problems
It seems that most users that install Exchange Server 2003 on a Windows Server 2003 machine that is also configured as a Domain Controller may experience a slow shutdown when they try to reboot/shutdown the server.
This is because the Active Directory related services shut down before the Exchange services, thus causing the Exchange services to fail repeatedly while looking for the DS. Exact and detailed explanations for this behavior and restrictions can be found in the KB articles listed below.
Note: Although installing Exchange on a server that is also a DC is possible, changing the server status while Exchange is already installed is NOT supported by Microsoft. For an example, if you demote a DC with Exchange Server install to a member server, the DS2MB service (which copies Active Directory data from A/D to the IIS metabase) stops working throughout an Exchange organization. Although some of these issues CAN be fixed, un-knowing administrators might ruin their configurations and as stated before – they will not be supported by Microsoft.
There are 2 known solutions for this problem (besides listening to me and NOT installing Exchange on a DC in the first place…). One is to change the timeout for a failed service to shutdown itself, and the second is to manually stop the Exchange services BEFORE shutting down the server.
Method #1: Services kill timeout
Follow these easy steps:
Run Regedit and navigate to
The default value of WaitToKillServiceTimeout is set to 600000. Change it to 20000.
Exit the registry editor and reboot the server.
Note: Changing the WaitToKillServiceTimeout value may have some undesired effects on other services, use this method at your own risk.
Method #2: Manually stop Exchange related services – my choice
The best choice is to manually shutdown the Exchange related services before trying to shutdown or reboot the server. You can do so manually by going to the Services snap-in in the Administrative Tools menu and stopping the specific Exchange related services, or doing so from the CMD:
net stop MSExchangeES
net stop IMAP4Svc
net stop POP3Svc
net stop RESvc
net stop MSExchangeSRS
net stop MSExchangeMGMT
net stop MSExchangeMTA
net stop MSExchangeIS /Y
net stop MSExchangeSA /Y
Alternatively, you could use the following script (Original script written by Yizhar Hurwitz – thanks!):
Download Script to Shutdown / Reboot Exchange 2003 on a DC (2kb)
Double-click the installation file, it will copy the script to a folder on your server and create a shortcut on the Quick Launch toolbar. Whenever you want to shutdown or reboot your server, click on the shortcut icon.