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System attendant won't start and sbs 2003 server hangs at applying settings upon boot

Posted on 2009-06-28
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Single SBS 2003 server w/Exchange running.
Just made a full backup, DCPROMO'ed and re promoted for setup on a new domain name.
As soon as it gets done creating new AD and prompts for restart the server reboots but gets stuck on Applying settings.  I've booted into safe mode and narrowed this down to the exchange system attendant.  Can anyone help explain why?
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Question by:andlemir
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by:cmccall
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If you have setup a new domain, you have hosed your exchange environment.  Re-creating with the same name does not extend the schema, does not duplicate the GUIDs, does not re-create the exchange accounts.  If this is what you did, you need to re-install exchange and work on DR to recover data.
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by:bluntTony
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If you want to rename your domain, this is not the way to do it.
Firstly, as you made a backup, restore AD back to how it was. Boot into Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) and restore the system state backup you made. This will undo what you just did and should help you bring the DC back up to how it was before the demotion.
Exchange is heavily integrated into AD, and you just basically deleted a lot of it's data when you demoted. This would break Exchange, but a problem with ESM alone wouldn't cause a login failure.
If you really need to rename the domain, then read this : http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Domain-Rename.html.
Having a single domain/single DC does simplify things, but it isn't a trivial operation and I personally would avoid unless really necessary.
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by:andlemir
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Forgive me for being the "green pea" on this one.  Lesson learned.  Should I just complete a fresh install of sbs server then?  

I guess i'm used to being able to demote and promote when exchange isn't normally involved on a domain controller.  Won't do that again.

There is nothing of great importance on the O/S partition, nor the old mailbox store that needs to be kept.  Just on the data partitions.
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by:cmccall
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If you have a good system state of a DC from before, then you can restore it.  If not, then you will need to reinstall.  Make sure you get copies of all exchange databases before you do.  Hopefully, we can work on getting them restored through an RSG.  It will be time consuming, but should be able to get most data back.
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by:andlemir
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there are a few applications that they run off the server that I would rather not have to go through loading up again.  I do have backups of everything just to be on the safe side so I could restore it back to its previous system state.  My question I guess is:  Is there a proper way then to do the rename domain?  Do I just go by the article referenced by bluntTony?
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by:bluntTony
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Yes, the proper way is to use rendom. This method is supported by MS if you use Exchange 2003 SP1.
Like I mentioned earlier, this is not a trivial change and I would only really do this if you really need to.
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by:andlemir
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I do really need to do it.  Don't have a choice unless I start from scratch and I really don't want to have to do that.  Will this change the existing data stores over properly as well?  Or is that something I will have to tackle after renaming the domain?
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by:bluntTony
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Actually, sorry - it's just clicked that we're talking SBS. I'm afraid it is not possible to rename an SBS domain, mainly because XDR-fixup will not work on a DC that is also an Exchange server.
So I'm afraid the only option is to actually create a new domain and migrate your users over to this. This would require you to install SBS on another server and use ADMT to migrate everything over.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news...
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by:andlemir
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LOL.....and the day keeps getting better.  

So what your saying is that there is no way to rename a domain on a network with a single sbs 2003 server running exchange....you have to start from scratch?
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by:andlemir
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That is fine, its just going to be time consuming reloading the applications that they share off the server again.

I've just done some goggling and see nothing promising.  Looks like I don't have a choice but to start over?
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bluntTony earned 350 total points
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Yeah, sorry, you cannot rename the SBS domain in-place. Your two options would be:
1. (preferrable) - Install SBS on another server with the new domain name. Then use ADMT to migrate all accounts/settings etc over from the old to the new. You would still have to re-install applications on the new server though.
2. Start from scratch. Install SBS all over again, install applications and re-create all user/computer accounts, group policies etc.
There possibly may be a way round this, but even if you found it, it would not be supported so if you hosed the domain and had to call MS, they would not be very helpful.
Have a read of this : http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2005/02/06/35156.aspx
You could actually hide the real AD domain name from users, by:
1. Creating a new email suffix representing the new domain i.e. user@newdomainname.com. Get this registered publicly so that it can be used externally.
2. Create a custom UPN suffix to represent the new domain name, so the users' logins would be user@newdomainname.com.
If you users were to only use the UPN login format, and their email address had changed, then for all intents and purposes, to them the domain name will have changed. Only IT admin would still see the domain name. All your machine names would remain with the old DNS name, and the domain itself would have the original name.
Not ideal though. With an SBS domain (max 75 users), it may not be the end of the world to rebuild. This is always a good way to blow out any cobwebs as well!
Hope this helps...
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by:andlemir
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Sorry for the delay on this one guys!  Thanks a million for the help.  Lesson learned and I won't do it again.  Just used to using NON-SBS server O/S.  Your help is greatly appreciated.
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