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While installing my first Exchange 2003 server,  I get "a server object for this server already exists"  How do I get rid of the server object?

Posted on 2008-10-13
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Last Modified: 2009-06-14
Due to my exchange server being hijacked, I had to rebuild the server (Windows 2003) and I am now re-installing Exchange Server 2003.  I perform all of the preliminary tests, including Forestprep and Domainprep, but when I get to the actual install page and click on "Typical Install", I get the following error message:  A server object for this server already exists in the Administrative group "First Administrative Group".  If you are attempting to recover this serverplease run setup with the "DisasterRecovery" switch otherwise you must first remove this server object from the Active Directory by using the Exchange System Manager.
Since I am doing a clean install and not a disaster recovery, the first part of the error does not apply.  And I cannot delet the server object using Exchange System Manager, because I have not yet installed ESM.  How do I get rid of the server objects?
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Question by:tapling
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fishadr earned 125 total points
ID: 22701256
If the server has not been uninstalled then it will still exist in Active Directory, therefore running in DR mode will allow you to re-install the server agaisnt the object in AD. It is a lot quicker than editing out using ADSIEdit.
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by:icky2000
icky2000 earned 125 total points
ID: 22701282
You'll have to manually remove the Exchange server from the org in Active Directory. To do so, see this article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/833396.

Most of the article doesn't appy to you but look at the section near the bottom titled "Remove the Exchange 2003 Server from Active Directory". The first part of that section refers to a procedure in ESM that you can ignore but below it there is a procedure that uses ADSIEdit (you'll need to acquire this tool from the Windows 2000 Resource Kit) to remove the server - that's the bit you need.

Good luck.
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Author Comment

by:tapling
ID: 22702011
Well, I deleted the old server information, now I get the following error:
The component "Microsoft Exchange Messaging and Collboration Services" cannot be assigned the action of "Install" because:
  - Setup is unable to determine the DNS name of the computer.  See Microsoft Knowledgebase article number 817543 for information on how to correct this problem.  Then run setup again.

I read the article, and it did not help.  Still have the same error.

Any thoughts?
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Expert Comment

by:icky2000
ID: 22703709
Does the Computer Name look ok on System Properties/Computer Name tab? You should see the FQDN (ie server.domain.net instead of just server).

Is there still a computer account for the server in the Computers OU in AD?

Is there still a DNS A record for the server in DNS on the GC/DC?

My recommendation is that you do this (assuming there are no other essential services running on this box):

1. Remove the computer from the domain and reboot.
2. Change the name of the computer and reboot.
3. View the Computers OU in ADUC and if you still see a computer account for the server in question, delete it.
4. Review DNS for the domain and if an A record for the server still exists, delete it.
5. Change the name of the computer back to the name you want it to be and rejoin the domain.
6. Confirm that the server's name shows the FQDN on System Properties/Computer Name tab.
7. Confirm that you now see a computer account for the server in the Computers OU in AD.
8. Confirm that you now see an A record in the domain DNS (the server should have automatically updated the domain's DNS once you joined the domain).
 
That should ensure that the local PC is set up right and properly registered in AD so that Exchange setup will find it.
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Assisted Solution

by:exx1976
exx1976 earned 125 total points
ID: 22705014
The Domain container (the portion of AD that shows up in ADUC) is not where the problem lies.

Icky touched on it with ADSIedit and the KB, but the specifically relevant portion is this:

Configuration Container
CN=Configuration, DC=Domain_Name,DC=com
CN=Services
CN=Microsoft Exchange
CN=Your_Organization_Name
CN=Administrative Groups
CN=Your_Administrative_Group_Name_Or_Exchange5.5_Site_Name
CN=Servers

Use ADSIedit to browse there, and if you see the server name listed there, that's where your problem is coming from.

Best of luck!
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Assisted Solution

by:Bertling
Bertling earned 125 total points
ID: 22707861
you need to install excange using the /disasterrecovery switch on the new exchange server. also it has to have the same server name.

also remember to patch and SP the new server to how the old one was.
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Expert Comment

by:exx1976
ID: 23142673
I'd split 125 between the 4 of us, since each of us gave an independently correct answer..
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