Reboot Loop

Posted on 2004-11-05
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hey experts...

Um...I came in this morning, and couldn't connect to the exchange server I just built. So, I went into the server room to find that the server was caught in a continuous reboot loop. I have no idea how this could have happened, it was totally fine last night.

It doesn't even give me a change to log on. The only mode I can get into is the recovery console -which doesn't allow me to look at the registry.

I'm about to install a new copy of the OS to an alternate location. My question has two aspects...

1. If I install a second copy of 2003 on this machine, can I access the registry of the first installation and edit it?
2. If I can't do that then how do I get this machine out of active directory?


Question by:neomage23
    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution


    I take it last known good configuration doesn't work?

    Do you need to keep the data on the exchange server and still have a workable mail server?

    If so, this is the rebuild procedure:

    Skipping anything to do with formatting, just installing a new OS directly over the top of the existing one, this will leave data intact, just as we like it.

    1. Install Windows 2003 Server with the Server as a Workgroup Member with the same Computer name as the old Exchange.

    2. In AD Users and Computers find the Computer Account for the Server, right click on it and select Reset Account. This will allow the newly built server to attach to it.

    3. Join the server to the domain.

    4. Ensure ASP.Net, IIS (SMTP, NNTP and WWW) are installed

    5. Run Exchange Setup with setup.exe /disasterrecovery. This pulls configuration from Active Directory and doesn't create the default information stores.

    6. DR install doesn't bother with system tools, so re-run Exchange Setup and install those.

    7. Apply any Exchange Service Packs if necessary.

    8. Make sure the Information Stores and Transaction Logs are in the right place then try to Mount the Information Stores in System Manager (right click menu for each).

    9. If everything works at this point go into the Properties for the Information Stores and remove the tick from "Do not mount information stores at statup".
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    by:Chris Dent

    Got called away so sorry for the delay in posting this last bit.

    This article has full instructions on how to manually strip Exchange out of Active Directory:

    Please let me know if you need any further information.
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    Often times a reboot loop is do to a blue screen that goes away too fast for you to see it. On startup, hit F8 to get to the boot menu and one of the options should be "Disable Automatic Restart". Then bootup normally. If it is a blue screen of death, it will then stop instead of reboot so you can figure out why it is rebooting.
    LVL 6

    Author Comment


    Thank you so much for the quick reply. I am extremely fortunate in that I went to follow your instructions and when the Windows 2003 setup got to the point where it said "Searching for Existing installations" it -of course- found my installation and as if I wanted to "repair" that installation.

    Well, I figured what the hell. I did the repair, and Windows came back and I didn't have to do any additional disaster recovery.

    The reboot loop was being caused by a virus, and Symantec found it right away.

    Phew! I am incredibly releived.

    Chris-I'm giving you the full points because you responded to my question within minutes, and I know that your answer would have been an alternative way to have repaired my situation.

    Thank you so much.

    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    by:Chris Dent

    Glad you got it all working Neo :)

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