Exmerge error configuring message service (MSEMS) /Exchange server to new server

teksup1151
teksup1151 used Ask the Experts™
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I am moving my E5.5/NT4 pdc server running MS SBS 4.5 to a different machine that will run NT 4 srvr /exchange 5.5 ent and eventually become the pdc. There are currently 40 users and do not want to copy folders one by one. I am using exmerge 3.71 (per answer to someone else's issue) and get the following error:

Error configuring message service (MSEMS)


I have looked at Q174197 and still does not work.  I have also tried renaming the .pst files per another MS article which I can't remember. I can post the logs if needed.



Any ideas on how to fix the error or another solution to move Exchange/pdc from one machine to another?(same os and exchange, just better hardware)
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You can try this depending on how many mailboxes you have. If you use outlook client, you can export their mailbox to  a .pst file from each workstation to somewhere on their local disk. Do the same for public folders, but of course you would only have to do it once for the public folders from any client. Then install exchange 5.5 on the new hardware create the mailboxes, point outlook to the new server and mailboxes and connect to it one time ( good rule of thumb) then import the .pst back in. I used the method on a network that had 10 users and it worked fine, when exmerge wanted to get flacky.
A majority of Exmerge issues are due to permissions not being correct. When you are logged in and using Exmerge try to Exmerge just your mailbox. Exmerge accesses the store the same way your Outlook client does.
Also OnTrack's Powercontrol tool works like a charm if you want to drop the bucks. It also can mount an inconsistent database AKA hosed beyond Eseutil /p and pull the information out to PST's for you.

Different approach - If your Information Store (IS) can stop by itself and your databases are consisent you can move just the Priv.edb and Pub.edb.
If your directory service (DS) can also stop get the Dir.edb also.
Make backups of the Dir.edb, Priv.edb, and Pub.edb
THEN,
Create your new server with the same;
Server name
Service Account (If you are starting with a new domain this will not be an option but you can still use the Priv and Pub)
Organization Name
Site Name
Service Pack
Once the server is up install an IMS if there was one before
Then stop the IS and DS and clear out there directories the MDBDATA and DSADATA
Copy over your backups of your old database into their respective directories the MDBDATA and DSADATA
Start the services
May have to run an Isinteg -patch after you attempt to start the IS because you may get a -1011.

If you had to start with a blank Directory then you will need to run a DS/IS from the advanced tab of the  properties of your server in the Exchange Administrator.

Good reads;
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;272570
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;174197
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;155509

Commented:
Here is the BEST way to accomplish what you are trying to do and minimize the interruption to your users.

By using exmerge you will lose single instance storage,  which is maintained moving mailboxes between servers in the same site.  



BASICS:

1. Install the new server as a BDC and then install Exchange on it.  When installing Exchange join the existing site.  Install the IMS and any other connectors you need and apply any changes to default settings like Default Retention Time, Mailbox Size Limits.

2. Once you have applied all of your service packs, burn-in period, backup tests, etc. you can promote the new server to be the PDC in Server Manager.

3. You can now start to MOVE mailboxes from the OLD server to the NEW server.  Outlook MAPI clients will re-home automatically.  You will not have to touch any of the clients.  If you have any POP3 or OWA clients DNS changes will have to be taken into consideration.

4. Read Microsoft Article 152959 THOROUGHLY and do NOT be in a big rush to decommission the OLD server.  This article also describes how to re-home the Public Folders and other housekeeping tasks.

5. When you 'think' you are ready to wipe out the OLD Exchange Server, just stop and disable the Exchange Services.  Leave the OLD Server running on the LAN, all mail functions should continue as normal, if not you forgot a step and you have the means to go back and correct it.  The only errors in the event log on the new server should be RPC related because it is trying to communicate with the server you stopped the services on.

~Mark Fay
www.fay.com 
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Commented:
Here is the BEST way to accomplish what you are trying to do and minimize the interruption to your users.

By using exmerge you will lose single instance storage,  which is maintained moving mailboxes between servers in the same site.  



BASICS:

1. Install the new server as a BDC and then install Exchange on it.  When installing Exchange join the existing site.  Install the IMS and any other connectors you need and apply any changes to default settings like Default Retention Time, Mailbox Size Limits.

2. Once you have applied all of your service packs, burn-in period, backup tests, etc. you can promote the new server to be the PDC in Server Manager.

3. You can now start to MOVE mailboxes from the OLD server to the NEW server.  Outlook MAPI clients will re-home automatically.  You will not have to touch any of the clients.  If you have any POP3 or OWA clients DNS changes will have to be taken into consideration.

4. Read Microsoft Article 152959 THOROUGHLY and do NOT be in a big rush to decommission the OLD server.  This article also describes how to re-home the Public Folders and other housekeeping tasks.

5. When you 'think' you are ready to wipe out the OLD Exchange Server, just stop and disable the Exchange Services.  Leave the OLD Server running on the LAN, all mail functions should continue as normal, if not you forgot a step and you have the means to go back and correct it.  The only errors in the event log on the new server should be RPC related because it is trying to communicate with the server you stopped the services on.

~Mark Fay
www.fay.com 

Commented:
Sorry for the dbl posting ?
The 'BEST' comment is of course my 'opinion'. :)
I doing a move operation you will also lose single instance storage, but the automatic profile change is an excellent advantage. I personally dislike the move mailbox operation for large moves due to the failure ratio. Check this article for all methods for moving mailboxes: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;327928
Commented:
Adam, I actually had to dig this up for a past project, would you believe that SIS does catch up when you're done moving all the mailboxes.  

Exchange Server maintains single-instance storage of messages even when users are moved between servers in a site.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;175706 

I have moved thousands of mailboxes over the years, have yet to have a problem with any kind of failure ratio unless a huge amount of users kept mailboxes open :(

However, I just re-read the original post and SBS cannot have another Exchange Server join it's site, so my original post won't work in this environment.

AMENDED PLAN - Run EXMERGE with the SSA credentials and Administrator MAPI Profile on the SBS.

1. Login to the SBS running Exchange as the Exchange SSA (Site Service Account) the account the Exchange Services are using.

2. Create a MAPI mailbox for Administrator if it doesn't exist and then a MAPI profile in Outlook or Exchange client and open the mailbox on the server.

3. Once you have the mailbox opened, verify you can open and browse the GAL.

4. Launch EXMERGE.exe using the SSA credentials.

This should get you past previous errors.

~Mark

P.S.: Best place to run EXMERGE is SBS because of disk I/O for the initial export.

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Commented:
Worked like a charm!

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