exchange 2003 uninstall

anybody ever uninstall exchange 2003? i find it amazing that a yahoo search for "uninstall exchange server 2003" comes back with nothing. anyway, i'm in over my head and want to uninstall exchange 2003 from 2 totally separate servers, one 2k, one 2k3, on totally separate domains. these 2 have nothing to do with each other, and of course aren't functioning as mail servers. i want to start over from scratch. when i try to uninstall, it says it can't because a user is currently using this message store. so i go in and delete that user; it's just the one that was created when i installed. then when i try to uninstall, it says "the component...cannot be assigned the action' remove' such object exists on the server." so i reinstall. then when i try to uninstall, it says it can't because a user is currently using this message store. so i go in and delete that user. then when i try to uninstall, it says it can't reach the schema master server.

i need all the help with this i can get.
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"The best way to remove any version of Exchange Server is to use its Setup utility, which in theory can uninstall any component that it installed. In fairness, Setup can't reverse some changes, such as those made to the schema during a ForestPrep operation (but hey—that's why we make backups before installing things). The Microsoft article "XADM: How to Manually Remove an Exchange 2000 Installation" ( explains the manual removal procedure for Exchange 2000 Server; as yet, no corresponding article exists for Exchange 2003. Because the machine in question is a test server, the simplest way to remove Exchange 2003 is to reinstall the OS."
CurtissAuthor Commented:
i read that too. so put in the cd, run the deployment thing, then when the little grid comes up, choose "remove?" unfortunately, that does the same thing as start/run/add/remove programs. it doesn't change the errors i'm getting.
CurtissAuthor Commented:
"exchange server" doesn't even show up on the start menu anymore. if i run the setup program, the only actions i can take are change, REinstall, or remove, and of course remove doesn't work, as i've mentioned before..
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Try using ADSI edit to remove the exchange server.That may help u.
U could also try going in safe mode and try to uninstall.
David WilhoitSenior Consultant, ExchangeCommented:
CurtissAuthor Commented:
this registry method is not complete for 2003; it is for 2000. it did not work. any idea why, no matter how many times i reinstall, even with the disasterrecovery switch, i have no exchange programs on the start menu? i can't open exchange system manager if i can't find it. anybody know the actual filename of that program?
It's a snap-in

..\bin\Exchange System Manager.msc
David WilhoitSenior Consultant, ExchangeCommented:
Are you removing Exchange from the server, or removing Exchange from the AD, so you can /forestprep again?

CurtissAuthor Commented:
there are no .msc files in my \bin folder. i want to totally remove exchange from my network. i don't see exchange in the AD on my domain controller.
Sounds like you got it... but there is no such thing as a true uninstall of Exchange as it modifes the AD. This can only be reversed by restoring your AD from backup.
David WilhoitSenior Consultant, ExchangeCommented:
Like, under Configuration, Services, there's no Microsoft exchange object?
CurtissAuthor Commented:
under configuration where?

and it sounds like i got what? setup will still not let me uninstall, but from the looks of my start menu, etc. it looks like it's not installed...
CurtissAuthor Commented:
i have one user who is set to use this server as a message store. this is preventing me from uninstalling. if i delete this user, the uninstall won't start because it thinks that messaging and collaboration services is NOT on the server... the error message about the user suggests that i move his store to another server, which i clearly can't do, or "mail disable" the acccoutn. how do i "maildisable" this user account?
David WilhoitSenior Consultant, ExchangeCommented:
"You can remove the entire Microsoft Exchange 2000 organization from Active Directory by deleting the Microsoft Exchange object. When you delete this object, you may be forced to reinstall all Microsoft Exchange servers in your enterprise. If you intend to remove Exchange entirely from your enterprise, you should also open the Active Directory Users and Computers management console, and remove the Microsoft Exchange System Objects container. For additional information about how this can be done using Active Directory Sites and Services, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base";EN-US;273478

I get the feeling you should finish reading the article I posted before, the other 2 links at the bottom can finish this off, if you're really trying to remvoe this completely.

CurtissAuthor Commented:
per the steps in knowledge base article 260378:

1. i deleted all those registry keys, and some others that looked "exchangey," since this article is 2000 specific and i have 2003 (ESENT instead of ESE98, etc.)  and i deleted metabase.bin.
2. i removed IIS, but i don't know how to remove "only the Internet Information Server Component and not the Common Files" since the common files are INSIDE the IIS component.
3. i restarted the server.

at this point, i go to add/remove programs, and Microsoft Exchange is still in there. i press on.

4. i rename the ..\exchsvr folder to \exchsvrold2 since i've already got an exchsvrold.

5. i reinstall IIS although i don't think this has anything to do with whether or not exchange is off of my server.

6. i reapply service packs.

7. i didn't install this in an existing exchange 5.5 site so i don't have to do this one.

"to remove the server from Active Directory, start Exchange System Manager..." which i do not have. it is not on the start menu, the .msc is not in the exchange\bin folder, and when i run Exchange System Manager.msc  off the cd just to see what happens, i get a "snap-in failed to initialize" error, then when i click ok, it opens with only an empty "first organization (exchange) on the left, with which i can do nothing but view, new window from here, or help. specifically, i cannot right click the object, click All Tasks, or then click Remove Server.

on the positive side, no exchange services are listed in services anymore.

moving to knowledgebase article 273478:

1. again i don't bother with the 5.5 steps

2. "from an exchange server 2000 sp2 or later cd," which i don't have because i have 2003, "run d:\setup\i386\update.exe /removeorg." except i don't have a 2000 service pack 2 cd because i don't have 2000 so i don't need service packs for it. and there is no update.exe on the 2003 cd. and if i run d:\setup\i386\setup.exe /remove org, it looks promising for a couple seconds but then gives me the same error i had in the first place about "there is a user using this server as a message store" which makes no sense since i manually removed exchange from the server with knowledgebase article 260378.

and there is no Exchange container in active directory users and computer or sites and services or domains and trusts, so i cannot delete it from active directory.

David WilhoitSenior Consultant, ExchangeCommented:
I sense your's really not this bad, guess I'm juset used to it now :)

ADSIedit, under configuration, Services, if there is a Microsoft Exchange object, delete it. that's about it. If all the other files are gone, you should be able to forestprep again.

Let me know how it goes....


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David WilhoitSenior Consultant, ExchangeCommented:
oh, and as far as the mail-enabled users, we'll clean that later if need be. don't sweat it.

CurtissAuthor Commented:
okeydokey. what i did here, in frustration was format my exchange server. yeah. fine. i reinstalled everything. ok. i'm guessing this was dumb. oh well. now having reinstalled exchange 2003, there is still no Exchange container in Active Directory Users and Computers. but when i go into exchange system manager, both my newly exchanged server and my old server (yes, i changed the name of the server.) show up. i cannot remove the old server. so according to active directory, there is no exchange on the network. according to the exchange system manager, i have 2 exchange servers.

talk to me.
CurtissAuthor Commented:
where do i get adsiedit.msc? my servers have never heard of it.
David WilhoitSenior Consultant, ExchangeCommented:
Install the Windows support tools, from the W2K3 cd.
CurtissAuthor Commented:
thanks guys, i got it. adsiedit saved the day. i'll try this install again in about six months. see you then.
David WilhoitSenior Consultant, ExchangeCommented:
that's good news...sort of. Why 6 months? did you find something incompatible with 2003 and your environment?

CurtissAuthor Commented:
actually, yes:

 my skill set.... ;-)
David WilhoitSenior Consultant, ExchangeCommented:
that's not true, look what you learned in a week. Truth?  has all you need to learn how to do this. you just need to do a little reading, that's all. there's always a caveat to any process, but if you've done your homework, you'll always get really close, the rest is always fixable :)

I know its late but here is your solution:

CurtissAuthor Commented:
i got it up and going. 2 chapters into Barry Gerber's "Mastering Microsoft Exchange Server 2003," and it worked fine. i was making it way too hard. we actually had Exchange Server 2003 running IN 2003! it works really well. except now people want to get their mail when they are lounging around at cisco partner conferences in hawaii. THE NERVE!!
I have experienced the same situation when uninstalling exchange 2003. I got it uninstalled very simple. You have to delete not only the mailboxes that you have created but also the administrator's mail box. Once you delete the administrator's mailbox the option "remove" will work. I guess it is a feature in the exchange 2003 to protect administrators mailbox. I am not a pro in exchange. I just went on working with my instincts.

1. First, one need to run \setup\i386\update.exe /removeorg from Exchange 2003 CD. This will completely remove Exchange Org from AD. ( /removeorg option will not be shown by setup /? command. Just use it. )
2. Then de-install Exchange 2003 from Add-Remove Programs.

- Vinayak.
YO, If you look at alex's Comment, HE IS RIGHT...
Do what he said and your good to go with the uninistall...
Easy and PIE!!

Comment from agregory23
Date: 03/02/2004 10:01PM PST

I know its late but here is your solution:

CurtissAuthor Commented:
yes, alex is right. and i would accept his answer if i hadn't already accepted one IN NOVEMBER 2003.
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