Can't uninstall Exchange 2003 completely

Posted on 2004-07-30
Last Modified: 2007-12-19
I recently installed Exchange 2003 on my Windows Server 2003 and I need to uninstall it so I can start over fresh. The problem is that when I try to uninstall it now, it gets to the part about removing registry entries for ActiveSync and then it gives me error 0x80005000 about Setup failed while installing sub component gives the option to retry or cancel and retry obviously does nothing but when I hit cancel it goes to the finish screen and has an error about ADSI pathname is incorrect. When I try to just reinstall over the current copy, instead of reinstalling it, it immediately asks me for an Exchange 5.5 server name and i don't even have one...this is a brand new server with no prior email capability. I've tried looking the error codes on microsofts site and the only help I found was for Exchange 2002 and even that didnt help. If you guys have any idea how I can fix this without having to format and reconfigure the entire server, PLEASE let me know! My boss would be very happy! If you need any more info about it, feel free to post and I'll check back daily or you can email me at Thanks in advance!
Question by:bluntz48
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Accepted Solution

batmon34 earned 500 total points
ID: 11683050

Author Comment

ID: 11686634
I don't have access to the server until Sunday or Monday, I'll let u know if this solution works out and i'll accept ur answer if it does. Thanks in advance for the help

Expert Comment

ID: 11692153
There are manual steps (as above, from batmon) to remove an E2k3 server..  and I've done that once or twice.

No kidding, I would never do that in production if I could avoid it.  

How big is your environment?  10 PCs?  Re-do the server from scratch, I suggest.  20-30 pcs?  Now I'd start really thinking about it.  30+  ..  single server install..?  I'd prolly be very tempted to try the manual removal..  so long as I knew I could "roll-back" .. when *grin* it blows up..

The real probs I've had with that manual removal process were not immediately apparent.  Logons, printing, file sharing, etc.. worked just great..  but installing E2k3 under that mangled AD was totally un-do-able.  

In my experience it's been a "re-write the AD from scratch" or "assume you will never run exchange again" kind of unpleasantness.

If you've got an installation that's so mangled that it required a manual removal, chances are it's not going to be fixed the next time you run "setup.exe" --  otherwise it'd be fixed and working now, eh?

I do that by running most of my small-client machines with a mirrored pair, usually in an HP box.  (dell, ibm, vendor slarty-bartfast can work also..)  The magic 3rd drive is stored off site.

So, if I was going to manually rip the doo-doo out of the AD, I'd be sure to swap my drive from my mirror before I did it.  If I didn't have that -- I'd be sure as heck to make a *FULL* backup.  (when in doubt -- just click on all of it..)

I don't mean to frighten you - I just suggest that although a manual "remove it" process exists, that proc might not bring you the happy fun-fun-time you are hoping for.

It's better to bash e2k/e2k3 deployments into shape, rather than un-installing and hoping for the best on the 4th run of setup.exe, eh?

Good luck.

Tailor your response as appropriate for your shop.  6-10 users?  Just re-key their damned accounts after you wipe the whole box.  11-20'ish users?  Scratch your head, then re-key the damned accounts after you wipe the whole box.  21+  users?  

Go to the pub.  Think it over.  Deal with it tomorrow.

-- Scott.

-- Scott.


Expert Comment

ID: 11692158
Oh, yeah, I guess I should esplain:

You never really remove E2k3 "totally" using the manual method above.

The A/D Schema is still extended, and the results (and security problems resulting from) forestprep and domainprep are not really backed out either..

So, you can remove the executable code -- but I don't think you can clean up the Active Dir in a reasonable amount of time.  The tools and docs just are not make public..

-- S.


Author Comment

ID: 11700071
I used the link from microsoft support which I somehow never found worked perfectly. I was able to completely uninstall and re-install Exchange and now everything works perfectly! Thanks alot

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