Outlook/Exchange cached mode

Posted on 2009-05-01
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I am having a problem with my Exchange environment.  We run Exchange 2003, I have 2 domain controllers (server 2003) and about 45 Outlook Clients (all XP Pro).  Recently I started retiring one of the domain controllers so I attempted to add the Exchange box as a third DC  so that I can remove the DC role from the box to be retired. The wizard was running fine during the DC role setup but right at the end, I got a blue screen, with a memory dump.  I restarted the new DC (our exchange box) and the Wizard said it was finished and everything seemed to be okay.  Now, I am trying to setup a couple of laptops and Outlook can not synch/download the Outlook email files in a timely fashion so I can't use Exchange Cached Mode on the clients.  With the option not checked, Outlook works fine but takes a long time to send messages out.
Exchange cached mode takes the client about 10 minutes to download about 1MB of data.
Users with cached mode already in use have no problems, only users that need to create or recreate an .ost file are having problems.  Internet and File shares have no problems from the troubled workstations.

Should I remove the DC role from the exchange box and try to readd it again since I crashed the first time?  Any other suggestions?

Thanks for your input
Question by:nextleveltech
    LVL 38

    Accepted Solution

    You are in trouble, and to be honest I'm not sure exactly what you can do except completely rebuild your Exchagne server.  Is this the only Exchange server in your domain?  Exchange is very picky about co-existing with active directory on the same computer and it is a very BAD idea to run DCPROMO on an Exchange server.  Here's a quote from a reference article (
    <<You can run Exchange Server 2003 on either a member server or on a domain controller. After you install Exchange Server 2003 on a server, do not change the role of the server. For example, if you install Exchange Server 2003 on a member server, do not use the Dcpromo tool to promote the server to a domain controller. Or, if you install Exchange Server 2003 on a domain controller, do not use the Dcpromo tool to demote the server to a member server. Changing the role of a server after you install Exchange Server 2003 may result in loss of some Exchange functionality and is not supported. >>

    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    First, thank you for the response...

    It is the only exchange server in the domain.  Would you recommend removing the role and perhaps letting it go back to its original state, hopefully?  

    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    One more piece of information, the current mail server is a DC but not a global catalog.  Do you think it would be wise to make it a global catalog to see if it helps?  
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    by:Hypercat (Deb)
    You could try either of those methods, but I would be concerned in either case that either Active Directory and/or Exchange would not function properly.  There could be ramifications and problems that would crop up over the long term that you can't even see or predict today.  
    What I would really recommend you do is, first, stop all Exchange services and make an offline full backup of your Exchange database.  You can do a simple file copy of both the .edb and .stm files. Then, I would completely remove Exchange, run DCPROMO again to demote the server, make sure everything replicates, then run DCPROMO again to re-promote the server, again make sure everything replicates, and then reinstall Exchange and restore your database.  IMO, that is the only way you can be sure that everything is stable and configured properly.
    I will try to look up some tech articles that would help you with this process.
    Also, it is best practice when installing Exchange on a DC to make that server a global catalog server and to point the Exchange RUS to itself as well.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Sorry, I forgot to close the loop on this question.  I talked to MS, and they told me that the problem was not caused by making the exchange box a domain controller.  it is not advised like hypercat mentioned but it was not the problem.  The cached mode problem points to a problem with DNS.  He ran a utility with adsi to clean up DNS.  

    All is good now.  

    Thanks for the input

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