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Trying to retire old Exchange 2003 Server but cannot

Posted on 2006-07-17
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Last Modified: 2008-03-06
We have installed a new Exchange 2003 2-node Cluster to replace the old Exchange 2003 Server.  Everything  (mailboxes, public folders, recipient update services, etc...) has been transferred to the new Exchange cluster per Microsoft's instructions and the new server can function fine on its own with the old server's Exchange services stopped.  The old Exchange 2003 server is a DC and contains a copy of the Global Catalog.  The new Exchange 2003 2-node Cluster is not a DC per Microsoft's recommendations.  We have 3 other DCs on the network and 2 of them contain Global Catalogs.  The 3 DCs on the network are two Windows 2000 Servers and one Windows 2003 R2 server.

The Problem:  When I remove the Global Catalog from the old Exchange 2003 Server, all Exchange functionality stops.  Outlook on the clients can no longer communicate with either of the Exchange Servers even though there are other servers on the network that contain copies of the Global Catalog (one being the clients primary DNS server).

In Outlook on a client, if I look at the properties of the Global Address List, it shows the Microsoft Exchange Address List Provider as the old Exchange 2003 Server we are trying to retire.  I believe this to be the problem, but I do not know how to change this value to the new server.  I may also be way off on the problem, but none the less, I need to find a solution to retire this old server before it retires itself.
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Question by:scanaan
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17127515
Hi scanaan,

The new exchange server functions fine when the old server is off, right?

If so, uninstall exchange from the old server, but leave it as a GC

Then try removing the GC role from it and you should find it will work ok then.

Hope that helps,

-red
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Expert Comment

by:CanaanAssociates
ID: 17130005
That is incorrect.  If the old server is turned off, all Exchange functionality stops.  The symptoms are exactly the same as removing the GC from the old Exchange Server.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17134092
Are you the question asker?

>>> ...the new Exchange cluster per Microsoft's instructions and the new server can function fine on its own with the old server's Exchange services stopped. <<<

If what you wrote there is true, then I would uninstall exchange - However, that won't fix the problem of the other exchange server still needing GC services from the old server.

Go through all of this -> http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822931/

Then all of this -> http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324801/

-red
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Author Comment

by:scanaan
ID: 17135505
Yes I am the question asker! When I stated that you are incorrect, I was referring to your first statement that the exchange server functions fine when the old server is off.  Exchange does not function at all.  You made the assumption that your statement was correct (right?) when in fact it is incorrect.

I had already gone through both of those support document procedures and double checked that the roles have been transferred correctly.  

There are some remaining system folders that  replicate only to the old Exchange server, but the the KB822931 does not mention replicating those to the new Exchange server.  These system folders include:

Events Root
Schema Root
SYSTEM CONFIGURATION
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17135539
OK, having duplicate accounts is against the member agreement, and VERY confusing for people trying to figure it out - but that doesn't have anything to do with me, the administrators will contact you.

I don't care for who was right, or who was wrong - i am trying to understand your problem so I might be able help!

If you followed 822931 through, did you also follow http://support.microsoft.com/kb/152959/ on how to remove the first exchange server (assuming this is the first exchange server)

Also, can you elaborate on what you mean by, all exchange functionality stops?  Can you dis and remount the stores?  can you restart exchange services?  are you getting errors in the event log?

Those public folders do not need to be replicated.  This guide, which I have used before, even though it won't all apply, would still be good for you to read.

http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Migrating-Exchange2000-Exchange-2003-Hardware.html

-red
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Author Comment

by:scanaan
ID: 17135657
I looked over the KB 152959 and the steps that are pertinent to Exchange 2003 have been completed successfully.  I have also used the msexchange.org tutorial document without problems in the past.  However in this situation, there is something still requiring the GC services of the old Exchange server in order for the Outlook clients to be able to communicate with the new Exchange Server.

Explanation of Exchange Functionality Stops:  The Outlook clients that are currently online will basically lock up when the GC is removed from the old Exchange server or that server is downed.  At that point, any client that opens Outlook receives a message that the mailbox cannot be opened and asked if they want to open the default folders instead.

As I mentioned in my initial question, within Outlook on a client, if I look at the properties of the Global Address List, it shows the Microsoft Exchange Address List Provider as the old Exchange 2003 Server we are trying to retire.  Could this be the problem?  And if so, how do I change it.  
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17135694
That is definitely A problem, whether or not it is THE problem is something else entirely.

Something has been missed with the decomissioning of the old server.  Go through all the guides again and confirm that each step has been completed successfully.

The GAL problems you are mentioning should have been solved when you rehomed the offline address book - I would start by checking that (as detailed here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822931/)

-red
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Author Comment

by:scanaan
ID: 17135791
I can assure you that I have confirmed each step of decomissioning process 4-5 times now.  The troubling fact that I keep coming back to is the fact that this old Exchange server must contain a copy of the GC in order for all Exchange servers to function.  

In addition, if the steps for decomissioning the Exchange Server were not completed correctly, would the new server function with the Exchange Services stopped on the old server?   In this case, I can shutdown all the Exchange Services on the old server, but I cannot shutdown the server itself.

I have gone back and tried to replicate the Offline Address Book with the old server.  I am not able to get both servers to report in synch for the replication status.  The old server continues to report local modified.  But as you mentioned and I agree, that may not be THE problem.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17142355
If it were me, I would uninstall exchange from the old server.

It shouldn't make a difference, but may force the site to use the correct DC/GC as opposed to the old server.

Once exchange is uninstalled from the old server, reboot the new server (or just exchange services if you need high uptime) and ensure Exchange still functions (as it did when you just had the services stopped).  Then, shutdown the old server (which is now just a DC/GC) and see if it still affects exchange when it is offline.

At the very least, it will be the end of all your replication problems - can't have those probems with only 1 server :)

-red
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Author Comment

by:scanaan
ID: 17143769
I have been considering that route, but I was hoping for a safer resolution.  To remove Exchange from the server and see what happens, feels like jumping off a cliff and hoping that the parachute that that I bought on Ebay opens and carries me to safety.  I do agree that since the Exchange functions will operate with the old servers services shutdown, that it should be OK to remove Exchange from the old server.  My concern is purely what if things do not operate correctly and how do I recover.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17143801
Well, there are 2 things you can do here.

Try and get another expert here involved in this question, and thereby getting a second (and possibly better) opinion.  You can contact them directly with a link to this question as most of them have email addresses in their profile.

The other option is to do it.  Back up your server, mainly exchange (which should be easy as there is no data) and then uninstall it.  Worst case, you reinstall it again and restore data (if necessary, which it shouldn't be).

I don't think it is a cliff, more of a step - but hey, i am not you and it wont rest on my shoulders IF it goes bad.  I just really dont think it will.  I think the worst that will happen is that it wont do anything...

-red
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Author Comment

by:scanaan
ID: 17143818
Thank you for your time and input.  I truly appreciate it.  I think I will sleep on it for now.
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