Recover Exchange

Have you ever had have a situation where you need to just start over with your exchange server but don’t want to lose data? (OS corruption\ Hardware Failure\ too many undocumented changes that caused an outage)

Here are the “quick and easy steps to recover”

  1. Stop the “Microsoft Exchange Information Store” service
  2. Note the OS service pack level\patches\hotfixes
  3. Copy or backup all your database files *.edb (if they are on a drive other than C you may not even have to do that)
  4. Format the C: (that’s right format it, so if you have something else on it back it up)
  5. Reinstall the OS and re-service pack it
  6. Rejoin the domain using the same server name as before (this is critical)
  7. install the exchange prerequisites.
    1. 2003
    2. 2007
    3. 2010
  8. Reinstall using exchange media
    1. 2003 = setup /disasterrecovery
    2. 2007\2010 = setup /m:recoverserver
  9. Copy or restore the exchange databases back to the original location
  10. mount the databases
  11. DONE! exchange should be back up and running!

6 thoughts on “Recover Exchange

  1. Would it be possible to do something like this to be able to migrate E2k7 from 2003 R2 to 2008 R2?
    I know MS doesn’t support an in place OS upgrade but I’m looking for some kind of work around.
    I know that I need to move to SP3, am currently running SP2.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance you may be able to provide.

    • As long as the version of exchange stays the same (dont try and move from 2003 to 2007 or to 2010) then yes this process would work.
      I cant recomend as a best pratice for an upgrade and would STRONGLY recomend a good backup just in case.
      You could
      1. Backup the server (just in case backup)
      2. shutdown the information store service (be sure you shut down the service or the database may not be in a clean shutdown state) and copy all .EDB files to another drive
      3. Format and reinstall the server with new OS (Dont delete the server object in AD, or uninstall exchange)
      4. join to domain using the same name
      5. VERY IMPORTANT: Install all pre-reqs
      6. follow the post to do a disaster recovery install of exchange
      7. copy the EDB files back to the exchange server and mount
      you should be back in buisness

      NOTE: if you do this on a exchange server that is also a DC you will have further issues, you can follow my article on reinstalling when exchange is installed on a DC but do your self a favor and demote before you try to do this (also be sure you have another DC running – obviously right 🙂 )

  2. It is on a member server and there is a separate DC. My intent is to update to SP3 before doing this.
    I could also upgrade the DC to 2008 R2 first, to take care of any schema changes if you think that would be better. It is now 2003 R2 as well.

    Thanks again for your help

    • There aren’t any schema changes involved for just a member server so you are fine there. Same with sp3 you can upgrade before or after, it doesn’t change the proceedure at all. Have fun and always backup 🙂

  3. Here is my scenario. We have an E2K7 server that we were in the process of decommissioning. We still had around 50 mailboxes on the server. We had a transformer blow in the building thus killing the power to the data center. When power was finally restored we found out we lost three drives in our EMC SAN and thus the entire array that was holding the program files and database files was toast.

    I don’t really care to try and recover and restore any of the data I just want to cleanly remove and uninstall the server from the organization. So, do I still need to do the following

    – Build new server with the same name
    – Install the OS and patch levels
    – Create disk structure exactly like it was before ( on this one does it need to contain the same amount of space as the original volume since i am not going to restore any of data from backup)
    – Install exchange prereqs
    – Install exchange with the /recoverserver switch

    Am I going to need to do all of this just so I can then uninstalled it from the control panel? I was hoping there was be a way to just blow it away and not have to go through all the steps above just to uninstall it in the end,

  4. sorry for the late reply on this, I assume you already resolved this by now.

    you can do a manual removal by removing the objects via ADSIEdit.msc, though there is risk there to be sure you have a good backup of the domain. (global catalog server).

    then just find the old server name under
    configuration store -> services -> Microsoft Exchange -> First Organization -> Administrative Groups -> Exchange Administrative Group -> Servers

    before you do this be SURE you have a backup of a DC.

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