Doing a Disaster Recovery on a Exchange Server that is also a DC

email_exchange_iconHave you every worked on a failed exchange server that also happens to be a DC (not recommended, but it happens)

Well if you do and you find yourself trying to recover it here is how you can.

  1. Note critical information
    1. What are the drive letters
    2. Where is the logs and database located
    3. What is the service pack level
  2. Remove data from server
  3. Format and re-install the OS – using the same drive letters
  4. Seize Roles if they were on the failed server
  5. Run through a metadata cleanup to remove the failed server from AD
  6. Replicate changes to all DCs
  7. Join rebuilt server to the domain  – Using the Same name
  8. Add the Server object to the correct exchange groups
    1. Exchange 2007 – “Exchange Servers”, “Exchange Install Domain Servers”
    2. Exchange 2010 – “Exchange Servers”, “Exchange Install Domain Servers”, “Exchange Trusted Subsystem”
    3. Exchange 2003 – “Exchange Domain Servers”
  9. Windows Update the Server
  10. Do a disaster recovery install of exchange
    1. Exchange 2003 = setup /disasterrecovery
    2. Exchange 2007\2010 = /m:recoverserver
  11. Restore data using backup application or recovered databases from failure
  12. and away you go!

5 thoughts on “Doing a Disaster Recovery on a Exchange Server that is also a DC

  1. Hello. I’m in a situation exactly like you described. I have a customer that has Exchange 2007 on a domain controller. The Exchange portion of the server broke and we were unable to get the transport service running. We were able to install a 2nd server and migrate the data over to it, but I’m at the point where I’m going to try to remove the failed server from the organization on Friday. AD is functioning well on the server, but Exchange won’t uninstall properly. Your instructions look doable, but I’m not too sure how to follow step 8. Can you give me some details on how to do step 8? Thanks!!!

    • Sure Randy,
      On step 8 you just need to add the Servers opject in AD to the group mentioned.

      i.e. If my server name was Exchange1, and It was exchange 2007 I would
      1. Open up Active Directory Users and Computers
      2. Find the computer for the server I am recovering
      3. Right click it and click properties
      4. Select the member of tab
      5. add the server to the “Exchange Servers”, “Exchange Install Domain Servers groups.
      6. Close the property page and ADUC and move on to step 9

  2. Perfect! Thanks for the quick response. I’m a bit anxious about doing this due to the fact that there are 85 users depending on their network. This article makes me a lot less anxious. Thanks again!

    • Great to hear!
      As with anything computer related I would recommend you have a backup of the server and AD (System State of DC). But I have run folks through this many many times and the only time there is any issue is if there is problems with the active directory itself (less than 1%)so it should be fairly smooth sailing 🙂

      Are you just removing the exchange all together? Or do you want to recover it? If you just want to remove it there is an easier way…. but it does require some playing in ADSIEdit 😉

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