Weird issues when trying to install Exchange 2007.

Posted on 2007-11-21
Last Modified: 2010-04-21
I am trying to install Exchange 2007 on a brand new Windows 2003 Server. I have gone  through all preinstallation steps and am to the point where Exchange runs it's Readiness Checks to see if your domain is ready. That's where the trouble comes in.

One of the reasons I cannot continue with installation is because Exchange 2007 is reporting two instances of Exchange 2003 on our network.

One instance was on the very same machine I'm working on. I previously installed the 32 bit version of Windows Server 2003 and Exchange 2003. Then, realizing my mistake, formatted, installed the 64 bit edition, and am now trying to install Exchange 2007. In other words, Exchange 2007 setup is reporting an Exchange 2003 server on the network that does not exist, not as a physical machine or as an installation. I have no idea where it's pulling this information from, as I've searched the registry on our DC.

The second instance is on a server we have here which someone has attempted to install Exchange 2003 on at some point in the past. There is an entry in Add/Remove programs, but it is not actually installed, thus cannot be uninstalled via Add/Remove programs. The Exchange Server Management tool does not exist on the machine.

This brings up another issue. Exchange 2007 setup is reporting that I need to switch the Exchange organization into native mode. This (from my understanding) must be done from the Exchange Server Management snap in. And as I just mentioned, neither server that is being reported to me as an Exchange server really has Exchange installed.

I cannot continue with Exchange 2007 installation without doing something with these "rogue" servers. I have searched online, searched machines, searched the registry, rebooted, and otherwise done everything I can to get rid of these machines.

Does anyone know where the information about prior installations of Exchange 2003 would be kept, or how I can get around this issue?

I know this is somewhat confusing...if you need more information or screenshots, please feel free to ask.

I really hope someone can help me with this.
Question by:cwelectric
LVL 51

Expert Comment

ID: 20328168
Exchange 2003 modifies the Schema.  As long as the AD forest still exists then this Schema modification still exists.

You may have to use ADSIEdit.msc to remove some entries - HOWEVER - I don't recommend hacking away at your AD Database unless you know EXACTLY what you're doing.

I will suggest you get hold of Sembee (Simon) and ask for some input from him.  He is the resident Exchange Expert and also a peer MVP that can likely get you whatever answers you need.


Author Comment

ID: 20328209
Hopefully he'll reply here.

I have to find a way to get rid of these entries and install Exchange 2007.
LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 20328384
You are going to install Exchange 2003 somewhere to clean up the domain. Otherwise it is a manual hack out. I would be looking to install Exchange 2003 correctly. Then use ESM to remove the server that is listed as being on the machine you are using now. Then use add/remove programs to remove Exchange correctly.

Your major mistake was formatting the server without removing Exchange 2003 first. Exchange is not a standalone application, it integrates tightly to the AD and has to be removed correctly. A lot of Exchange information is stored in the AD.


Expert Comment

ID: 20328447
All I can tell you is that when I installed 32 bit Server 2003 on my network, Exchange 2003 was installed by default from the same installation CD, however it did not appear as a seperate installation in the add/remove programmes list, I must admit I have never tried to install Exchange 2007 over it but would have thought that at least you would be given the option to upgrade it.
The only constructive advice I can offer is to attempt removal of Exchange 2003 by using the installation CD for Exchange 2003, you must first disconnect any users from their mailboxes.
Sorry I couldn't help more but this might help you 

Author Comment

ID: 20328554
I managed to get the two old servers to stop showing by using ADSIEdit. It's still complaining that my Exchange organization needs to be in native mode, though. However, I can't do this the "normal" way because an Exchange installation does not exist.

Any clue on how to do this through ADSIEdit?
Does Powershell have you tied up in knots?

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Author Comment

ID: 20328564
So would my best bet be to install Exchange 2003 correctly, switch to native mode, uninstall Exchange 2003, then install Exchange 2007?
LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 20328568
Tintoman - the only way that Exchange would have been installed would be from a separate CD. It is not part of Windows. If you were installing Small Business Server then you would be prompted for disk two or three - I cannot recall.

Furthermore there is no in place upgrade option for Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007 as Exchange 2007 is 64 bit only.

LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 20328700
The domain thinks Exchange is there. Therefore you either have to remove all trace of Exchange or install Exchange enough so that you can make the changes that are required. I would not have advised using adsitedit.msc as that is a bit of blunt object and doesn't remove all traces cleanly. You may have had made the problem worse doing that.

This is a mess now. If you had removed Exchange correctly then it would have been fine.

I am unsure what will work now. If you hadn't hacked about in adsiedit then I would have told you to build a 32bit Windows machine named as the original server that you wiped. Then do a disaster recovery installation of Exchange. That would have pulled the Exchange information out of the domain to be used by the install. You could have then made the changes required to the org and removed Exchange 2003 using add/remove programs.

For that other machine I would suggest running setup on it and see what happens. If you are given the opportunity to install Exchange then do so. When complete see what state it is in. If it installed cleanly, then remove it.

This is the manual remove instructions, but the damage may be too much for them to work.


Author Comment

ID: 20328765
"If you had removed Exchange correctly then it would have been fine. "

I realize that, but since the Exchange installation was done before I began working here, it wasn't a possibility. It's a situation that I got thrown into, more or less, and I'm trying to fix someone else's mistake.

The only thing I did in adsiedit was remove references to machines that did not exist. I did not "hack around" until I found what I was looking for, I followed this KB article which tells how to remove Exchange from AD.

It immediately took care of the problem, as the Exchange 2007 installation did not show those machines any longer. In other words, aside from the Exchange organization not being in native mode, there is nothing stopping me from installing Exchange 2007.

Now, in order to correct this issue, should I install Exchange 2003 on the server I'm going to install Exchange 2007 on, switch it over to native mode, then remove 2003 and install 2007?
LVL 104

Accepted Solution

Sembee earned 500 total points
ID: 20328863
I was referring the machine that you installed above...

"I previously installed the 32 bit version of Windows Server 2003 and Exchange 2003. Then, realizing my mistake, formatted, installed the 64 bit edition, and am now trying to install Exchange 2007".

If that installation has been removed correctly then the problem would not exist. It may also have allowed you to remove the other machine correctly.

If Exchange 2007 setup is still reporting the org is in the wrong state, then install the management tools only somewhere. That will give you access to the org and allow you to change its state.


Author Closing Comment

ID: 31410433
Installing the tools allowed me to change to native mode. Exchange 2007 is installing as I type this. Thanks!

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