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Demoting a Domain Controller running Exchange 2003 & moving Exchange

Posted on 2008-06-22
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Last Modified: 2009-02-13
Hello experts,
5 years ago I foolishly made the error of installing Exchange 2003 onto a server that was a Domain Controller (one of 5 in this network, but it is a Global Catalog and not holding any FMSO roles) - I did not realise the security implications etc at the time.. I have also read there can be problems demoting a server running Exchange 2003.  The Domain and Exchange server in general have run perfectly but now the server is getting a bit old I would like to remove it.

What  I would like to do is to Install Exchange onto a new member server - move all the mailboxes across > demote the existing Exchange server and Uninstall Exchange.

My question is this - Is this ok to do the above?  Is there anything that could potentially go wrong with this due to the fact Exchange is also a DC.  Should I do this in any particular order ?  We recently invested in a SAN array so hoping to virtualise the new Exchange server.

Thank you for your help and advice in advance :)
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Question by:MostlyConfused
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tigermatt earned 125 total points
ID: 21841279
The only part of the procedure you must be careful of is the dcpromo program which promotes and demotes DCs. If you run dcpromo on any server with Exchange installed - whether a member or domain controller - you WILL break Exchange.

You can migrate Exchange as per the usual method, installing it and moving mailboxes across. Once your new member server is running and Exchange correctly installed, you must then uninstall Exchange from the domain controller. You can do this as per http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822931, because you need to transfer the roles across.

Once you have fully uninstalled Exchange from the DC and rebooted several times to ensure everything has been cleared out and removed, you are then left with a standard DC which can be dcpromo'd as necessary.

-tigermatt
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by:scdavis
scdavis earned 125 total points
ID: 21841482
I've done about a half dozen of the migrations you're considering.
You seem to infer that AD/DC/GC might have some unusual administrative "gotchas" for Exchange migration..  my experience is that there's no surprises, so long as you plan to do the decomission of the old hardware in two distinct steps:

1)  Migrate Exchange.
2)  Decommission WIN/AD/GC  (un-dcPromo)


Personally, I've done about a half dozen of those -- I always end up in the add/remove progs cpanel thingie pounding my fists on the table because Exchange refuses to un-install for some arcane reason.  Here's some step-by-step:  http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Removing-First-Exchange-2003-Server-Part1.html


I always end up swinging the important Exchange services over to the new install, testing mail from from mailbox to internet, internet to mailbox, mailbox on new machine to mailbox on old machine and finally mailbox on old machine to mailbox on new machine..

Once the mail flow is a-okay, go ahead and move the mailboxes..  



So -- now all the data is on the new machine and the old machine refuses to un-install for whatever reason -- try these last resort steps:

1)   Shut down all the Exchange services on the old machine.  Fire up the ESM on the new machine and ask it to delete the old server..  if it cant communicate with it, it should remove it.
2)  If the ESM refuses to remove the original machine, fire up ADSIEDIT and rip it out by its privates.  Specifically, browse down to:

Configuration, Services, DomainName, Admin groups, First adm group, servers, CN=OLDSERVERNAME

Delete the oldservername and all its sub-keys..  Disable the services on the old install sos those exchange services will never start up again..  test mail flow and clean up any connectors/etc..

 
Move on to the AD issues..  (trivial in comparison, imho!)..

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by:MostlyConfused
ID: 21844090
Thank you both for your time and input, very much appreciated.

I will see if I get any more responses in the next few days to see others opinions on this and then give out the points accordingly.

Thanks again.
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by:tigermatt
ID: 21846982
Thanks! :-)
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