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Server 2003 w/Exchange Backup

Posted on 2008-10-29
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I have a Windows Server (2003) box with Exchange 2003 that I can't get to boot. I need to backup the Active Directory and Exchange mailboxes. How can I go about this?
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Question by:zachbriggs
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by:GibbsSupport
ID: 22830790
How far can you get it up?

is it running on a RAID?

What is the hard drive configuration?
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by:zachbriggs
ID: 22830966
It will boot to just passed Preparing Network Connections and then it reboots. Can't Log In from Safe Mode either, so I'm going to have to pull the drive and copy the files off manually.

No RAID.
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by:GibbsSupport
ID: 22830986
is this small business server or 2003 standard?

i also assume this is both the only domain controller and exchange server?
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by:zachbriggs
ID: 22831053
2003 Standard, Yes, DC and Exchange.
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by:zachbriggs
ID: 22831062
However, I don't have computers attached to the domain. Just using it for mail, I need to try to keep the mailboxes and AD intact.
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by:GibbsSupport
ID: 22831067
Can you rule out hardware issues like your power supply causing the reboot? Do you have any tape backups?
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by:zachbriggs
ID: 22831866
No tape backups. And no hardware issues. Its a corrupt OS.
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GibbsSupport earned 500 total points
ID: 22832046
If the drives are SATA or IDE the only thing i would try is

1. Install another hard drive and install a fresh copy of Server 2003.
2. Hook up your old drive as a slave
3. Migrate copy the databases from exchange over to the new build.
4. Copy the C:\windows\NTDS and C:\Windows SYSVOL to backup folder on your new build.
5. Promote the new build to a DC using the same domain information as before.
6. reboot the DC into active directory restore mode
7. restore AD from the copied NTDS and SYSVOL folders you got from the bad OS Drive
8. Once AD is up and running again install exchange
9.  Once exchange is installed there are a number of different ways to recover mailboxes from your old  mail databases.

sounds really ugly but with no backups and no raid thats what i'd try first.

You  may want to consider getting some type of backup software that will backup your system to external media. it would really save your butt in this case.
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by:zachbriggs
ID: 22832198
Ugly is this thing's middle name, you don't want to know the first. It sounds like your solution is on target with what I'm looking for. Can you explain step 3 in more detail?
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by:GibbsSupport
ID: 22832314
on your current corrupt server there should be an exchange installation folder, by default i think its C:\programfiles\exchsrvr\MDBDATA

you should try and copy the entire folder to the new build, put it in the same backup folder as your Active Directory stuff. like C:\Backup

if you have never done a backup you may have a ton of logs, if you want you can try to only copy
Priv1.edb, Priv1.stm, Pub1.edb and Pub1.stm.

that is where the bulk of your email is stored.

Now i don't think you'll be able to just pop these databases into the new exchange server, You will probl need a program like EXMERGE to access the files and extract everyones mailboxes to PST.

Then you'll have to recreate everyones mailbox and import the PST. I think 2003 has some other internal mailbox recovery tools you can try.
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by:zachbriggs
ID: 22833646
Just an update. I've got the new OS installed and am getting ready to do the migration.
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Author Comment

by:zachbriggs
ID: 22835677
6. reboot the DC into active directory restore mode.

Is this the same thing as [F8] and Directory Services Restore Mode?
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by:GibbsSupport
ID: 22835681
yes
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by:GibbsSupport
ID: 22835702
this is a good read for what your about to do

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727048.aspx

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by:GibbsSupport
ID: 22835750
this is also pretty good
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/816120

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by:zachbriggs
ID: 22835962
OK, got a little lost on "7. restore AD from the copied NTDS and SYSVOL folders you got from the bad OS Drive"
I have a copy of the NTDS, SYSVOL, and Exchange Data from the old system in the folder "c:\Backup".
I have booted to DS Restore Mode.
Not sure what to do from here.
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by:GibbsSupport
ID: 22839861
try reading this

you should get familiar with ntdsutil

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc779573.aspx

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by:zachbriggs
ID: 22841065
Actually I fumbled my way through it. Good to go. Not only that I managed to fix the other server as well. :P. I'll have to write a report on that one, it was a battle.

Everything is good to go now. Thank you very very much for your help.

Z
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by:GibbsSupport
ID: 22841077
so are you up and running on the new system? or did you fix the old system and get it running?
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by:GibbsSupport
ID: 22841225
One last comment, i want to make.

I hope this event shows the value of backups.

depending on the value of the server and email system (what it means to you) i'd suggest making the system more redundant with backup systems.

1. I'd think about getting some sort of RAID system going, RAID 1 or 5 would be a good place to start..
2. Think about putting exchange on a different partition in case the OS ever become corrupt again.
3. Backups Backups Backups! you can always use the free NTBACKUP system, you can also at the very least go out and buy some sort of external media and backup your system there.

It will save you tons of time, money and effort in the future.

Cheers!
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by:zachbriggs
ID: 22843839
We have (3) Dual Processor 3.2 GHz Quad Core Xeon Servers, they each have four 500GB hard drives and are capable of supporting almost any form of RAID. The cluster was to be topped off with two 8TB NAS systems. Then the powers that be decided not to buy the NAS systems after the servers were configured. So we turned 2 out of the 4 drives in each box into backups. Then there backup drives became full about 8 months ago and we were ordered not to delete any data as the FAA and our customer would be very unhappy. We told them again that we needed the NAS's and again were told that they wouldn't be able to do that right now. The servers became unstable along the way and we had no way to restore from a backup as we no longer had current backups. Every time the servers have had a major failure after fixing we have reminded them that it would have been easier with backups and that they are operating without safety nets. Every time they ignored us. This was the last time. I told them I'm not fixing them without them first purchasing the required backup systems. I have the backup systems in front of me now and am getting them set up.

I figured I would explain myself as I am not as big a moron as my situation forces me to be. :)

I am a well versed software developer and network engineer, I have 8 years experience writing advanced applications for government and commercial, 5 years working with network hardware and software; spent part of that time building a national dial-up network and several broadband carriers. I have always been weak when it comes to exchange and have been forced to get current in the last 3 years with it. :)

Let me know if you ever need anything, we would be glad to help.

Z
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by:zachbriggs
ID: 22850304
Did you get your points?
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