Exchange System Attendant or Exchange AD Topology service will not start

When these services will not start its usually for 1 of 2 reasons

  1. Cant get to Active Directory
  2. Not allowed to access Active Directory

Most Common Solutions

  1. Make sure you can ping the Global Catalog (GC) server
  2. DNS Entries are not correct, you can either manual fix or rebuild Dynamic DNS
  3. Test Replication between domain controllers, if it fails troubleshoot AD.
  4. Disable 3rd party firewall products on GC
  5. make sure there is a GC in the AD site your exchange server is in
  6. Sites and service not configured – Need to configure AD Sites and services subnets to match your site topology.
  7. Be sure the Exchange Domain Servers and Exchange Enterprise Servers groups have not been removed from the Users OU in AD   Capture
  8. Be sure the server that the service will not start on is in the following groups
    1. 2003 = Exchange Servers
    2. 2007 = Exchange Servers, Exchange Install Domain Servers
    3. 2010 = Exchange Servers, Exchange Install Domain Servers, Exchange Trusted Subsystem -> (Needs to be in Local Administrators as well)
  9. Make sure the Manage auditing and security log has Exchange Servers and Exchange Enterprise Servers assigned to it on the Default Domain Controller Policy KB316709
  10. Permission on the NTFS directory for the Exchange binaries has been modified.
    System and Administrators should have full access to the Directory.
    1. 2003 Default Location = C:\program Files\Exchsrvr
    2. 2007 Default Location = C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server
    3. 2010 Default Location = C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14


  • AD=Active Directory
  • DC=Domain Controller
  • GC=Global Catalog DC
  • OU= Organizational unit