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Windows Thread, [2008R2] Exchange Server 2010 - removal / fresh install in Technical; I'm running in a 2008R2 test environment and have been struggling with trying to create a fresh install of Exchange ...
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    [2008R2] Exchange Server 2010 - removal / fresh install

    I'm running in a 2008R2 test environment and have been struggling with trying to create a fresh install of Exchange due to some configuration / authorisation issues.

    I have 3 test servers. One running AD GC, one running Exchange 2010 Typical install and one running Edge Transport and Forefront TMG / Exchange Server. The two exchange servers are virtual machines using Hyper-V.

    I have been using snapshots to roll back configurations to bare bone install but Exchange Server settings seems embedded in AD. Its the second time I have had this problem - last time I rebuilt the whole test network, but i'm not planning on that this time.

    I tried to do a reinstall of Exchange server on a fresh Windows install, same server name, but Exchange says that the its in a incomplete state and need to use setup /m:recoverserver (or whatever it is) but that fails due to a corruption issue with the certificates - the root cause of my transport errors in the first place that I am trying to solve.

    Q1: Can I delete exchange from AD and make a fresh start? There is some online documentation, but its all unsupported and for earlier versions of Windows and Exchange. So the instructions and structures mentioned are not the same.

    Thinking of changing the server name to something different, I got Exchange installed, but the old server, and mailboxes etc are still listed in Exchange.

    Q2: How can I delete this now defunct server and mailboxes from Exchange? Again, I have found instructions for earlier versions, but nothing matches the tools or structure in 2008R2 and Exchange 2010.

    As its a test environment, nothing is precious except my AD DS/GC server that I need to keep intact.

    Many thanks

    Ian

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    Theres details here on how to do it on Exchange 2003. I'm sure the procedure is similar for 2010. Active Directory removal is about half way down. How to remove Exchange Server 2003 from your computer

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    ianh64 (1st July 2010)

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    Thanks for the link. I had already seen it an dismissed it as none of the information in it bears any resemblance to any of the options or structures in Server 2008R2 / Exchange 2010.

    Any more suggestions please?

    Its a fresh install of a new server with new name. The old server is non existent so there is nothing to remove from it, just active directory causing issues by repopulating mailboxes, defunct servers and I suspect, defunct corrupted certificates.

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    I feel this may call for a serious bout of active directory editing. Not for the faint hearted I have to say as I've been there with my own Exchange 2010 install. ADSIEdit is the place to go and there are articles in Technet and the like for doing such tasks. I am unable to point at particular ones as my install differed, being a transition/migration/coexistence with Exchange 2003. However, I do remember deleting an old server in ADSIEdit, which helped a lot.

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    ianh64 (1st July 2010)

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    Thanks to both of you. I took the opportunity to get more familiar with adsiedit and found things that I did not know existed, like the configuration container. So the original instructions from MS web page in regarding AD are helpful, but much has changed from 2003 version in other respects. There are some for 2007 too when I searched for the subject in the post.

    I initially tried to edit AD to move the mailboxes over and had some success, but was still getting a few errors. As I am in a test environment, I decided to remove Exchange from AD completely and roll back to earlier snapshots of my virtual machines and reinstall from scratch. As a result, I was also able to revert back to my earlier server name so no need to update all the documentation.

    A fresh install has just completed successfully, so I am able to move forward with this again.

    If anyone stumbles across this in the future, to completely remove exchange from a domain, use adsiedit to remove all the information from both the 'configuration/services/microsoft exchange' and 'microsoft exchange auto discovery' nodes plus two OU's from the 'default naming context' and a number of exchange users - discoverysearchmailbox, federatedemail and two systemmailboxes. I also removed email addresses from any users.

    Then reinstall.

    Easy when you know how!
    Last edited by ianh64; 1st July 2010 at 12:03 PM.

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    Glad you got it sorted - yes it is "easy" after you've done it! Sense of achievement also.

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    A quick update. I found that previously email enabled users had a whole host of Exchange specific information as part of their profile so there was more to cleansing users than just removing the email address.

    IIRC, using adsl edit on each user, I simply set the exchange specific nodes to no configured on all but one of the values - the other could not be edited.

    On my test bed, this was only the administrators account so not much of a hardship.

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    I didn't think it mattered but after doing a couple of re-installs over the weekend with mixed results, I got better results if I also deleted.

    OU : Users - delete the exchange specific users - discoverysearchmailbox, federatedemail and two systemmailboxes
    OU : Microsoft Exchange Security Groups - whole OU

    Jury is still out on what certificates need to be revoked if any.

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