Cannot remove a mailbox database in exchange 2010

Are you trying to remove a mailbox database and you have removed all the users mailboxes but you cant because it says: “mailbox database contains one or more mailboxes or arbitration mailboxes


  • Move the mailboxes (if you have a database to move to)
    • Set-AdServerSettings -ViewEntireForest $True
    • get-mailbox –arbitration –database | new-MoveRequest –targetdatabase
    • get-moverequest  = Look for compleation
    • get-moverequest | remove-moverequest
    • Remove-mailboxdatabase –id


  • Disable the mailboxes (no other database to move to, but don’t want to delete the ID)
    • Set-AdServerSettings -ViewEntireForest $True
    • get-mailbox –arbitration –database <databasename> | disable-mailbox
    • Remove-mailboxdatabase –id


  • Remove the mailboxes (Completely removing Exchange 2010)
    • Set-AdServerSettings -ViewEntireForest $True
    • get-mailbox –arbitration –database <databasename> | remove-mailbox
    • Remove-mailboxdatabase –id

Note: Only do option 2 or 3 if you are removing exchange entirely, if you intend to keep exchange in your environment you should do a move, if for some reason that doesn’t work and you disable or remove it you need to create a new arbitration mailbox “new-mailbox -arbitration”


9 thoughts on “Cannot remove a mailbox database in exchange 2010

  1. Of course options 2 (disable) and 3 (remove) are bad examples, as this will stop moderation and autogroup functions from working.

    You will need at least one arbitration mailbox (new-mailbox -arbitration) within Exchange 2010 and if this is not the default arbitration mailbox (the one with the GUID in it) then when you enable moderation on a mailbox/group you need to set the arbitration mailbox specifically.

    Brian Reid

    • Thats correct you should only do the last 2 methods if you are removing the exchange entirely from the orginization or you would need to create a new arbitration mailbox.

      Thanks for pointing that out! I should have clarified that. In fact I will add the clarification.

  2. Great article. I was getting nothing for a result when I ran:
    ◦get-mailbox –arbitration –database
    against my first database. Running the ◦Set-AdServerSettings command fixed that issue.
    Good stuff, thanks for the help

  3. Great article. does anyone know if you can later create a new database with the same name as one which has been previously removed? Or even rename a database to a name which a removed database used to have?

    I can’t seem to Google this question properly to get the answer. Don’t have a lab to test.

  4. Unfortunatly it is not working for me. I see an Systemmailbox in by database but it not appears as na arbitration mailbox. I used also the Set-AdServerSettings but not helped me in that case.

    I don´t know what that database is. Has someone of you an idea?
    Thanky you!

    DisplayName : SystemMailbox{6e8137f0-a1de-48dd-a7f5-8fe4b815c40c}
    DisconnectReason :
    ObjectClass : Mailbox, ExOleDbSystemMailbox
    TotalItemSize : 318 B (318 bytes)
    DatabaseName : databasename

    • so I am not sure what the issue is..
      Are you trying to remove the mailbox database? Ensure that all mailboxes are either moved to a new database or removed.
      new-MoveRequest or disable-mailbox or remove-mailbox

      That is the system mailbox, so preferably you want to move it to another database.
      Is this on Exchange 2010?

  5. Thanks for the command break down.

    I have been doing a lot of these lately and they are after Office 365 migration where the arbitration/archive mailboxes are left behind to be deleted. Sometimes the arbitration mailboxes delete easily and sometimes they don’t. Even using the commands above. I have found it easier to do an AD search and look for accounts with Exchange attributes attached to the Exchange server is question to delete them outright. Seems to always work that way. It also saves you some time is going back and removing those orphaned accounts when Exchange is gone.

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