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Removing an Exchange 2003 Server

Posted on 2009-12-24
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I have an exchange server that I need to remove from my environment.  It is running Exchange 2003 SP 2, and is not the first Exchange Server.  I have re-homed and/or deleted all user mailboxes on the server but when I beging the add/remove procedure it errors out telling me that there are one or more users with a mailbox still on this server.  I have one Storage Group, with one Information Store on this server.  In the Information Store I have the standard SMTP and System Attendant boxes under the Mailboxes folder, but there is also a SystemMailbox with what looks like a SID entry after it.  Right clicking on the store and choosing delete throws error c1034a7f telling me that I have a mailbox in the store.  Right clicking on the object itself gives me a greyed out "all tasks" menu.  Locating the object in AD, right clicking and choosing Exchange Tasks gives me a menu with a blank box where the exchange tasks would normall be.  I have researched this in microsofts knowledge base and have the insructions for removing the msexchhomeserver from adsiedit.msc but the KB states that you do not need to remove SystemMailboxes in order to remove Exchange.  My question is this.  If I remove the msexchhomeserver attrubute via ADSIEDIT.MSC will I cause any undo pain to my AD environment, or my other Exchange servers?  My assumption is that it won't but I wanted to reach out to the Experts here to see if there is a better way to remove, if what I am doing is correct, and if anyone has had a similar experiance.  I should also note, that this server is not part of any routing groups, it has no public folder replica that it is hosting.  It currently has a function-less existance.  Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.    Screenshots are attached.
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Question by:mmazahreh
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:CompanionCube
ID: 26119757
Notes from my last E2K3 cleanup:

Removed old SGs
Removed old Stores
Removed old Routing Groups
Removed RUS
Used adsiedit to kill off old exch objects...
"How to Remove the Last Legacy Exchange Server from an Organization"
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb288905.aspx


Had to find users in AD which thought they still had an Exchange Home on the old E2K3 server.
  ADUC, find, Advanced, Field, User, exchange home server, ends with, <exch servr name>
  They were old ref.s to service accounts

Nuked the old Exch servers
  Add/Remove Programs, remove Exchange
  Disjoined the servers from the domain
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Author Comment

by:mmazahreh
ID: 26119801
Right, that is the process that I am trying to follow however I cannot remove the store in order to remove the SG.I have located the Object in ADUC that believes it is still resident on the exchange server and have verified that in ADSIEDIT that the msexchhomeserver attrubute for that object indeed says that it is on that server however my concern is if I delete out that attribute will it have a negative effect on my production exchange environment?  My sense says no, but the KB article that I have from MS says that you don't do this with SystemMailbox objects.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:CompanionCube
ID: 26119872
Ensure you always have a backup of your AD environment...!
The last time I ran into this I just deleted the user accout/resource account which thought it still had a mailbox on the store. We just ended up recreating the user/resource account object.
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Expert Comment

by:wfcraven12
ID: 26119962
Ran into this problem earlier in the year.  Such a pain.  I found the below article & all was well in Exchangeworld.

http://exchangeserverinfo.com/2009/09/08/error-c1034a7f--unable-to-delete-mailbox-store.aspx

Hope this helps
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Author Comment

by:mmazahreh
ID: 26120104
wfCraven12 I ran thru the steps in the link that you posted.  The results I got are in the attached screenshot.

The last line in the link you posted is the following:
NOTE: SystemMailbox, SMTP Mailbox & System Attendant are the Exchange Special mailboxes and should not be consider for moving.

Coincidentally they are the 2 mailboxes that are still there.  Ugh.....
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Accepted Solution

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wfcraven12 earned 2000 total points
ID: 26120135
That sucks.

First go to Microsoft Exchange System Objects OU in the AD users
and computers, & remove the system mailbox {GUID} WITH the CNF:198904dc..... behind it


* Force the domain controller replication in the local site and run
cleanup agent on the exchange system manager. If you see the second system
mailbox disconnected. Right click it and purged it.

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Author Comment

by:mmazahreh
ID: 26120184
remove the object itself or try to remove the mailbox thru exchange tasks?  Exchange task wizard shows no options for mailbox removal so I am assuming that I need to remove the actual object out of AD correct?
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:wfcraven12
ID: 26120225
Through Active Directory

Then go to AD Sites & Services to Replicate

Then go to ESM.  the SystemMailbox should show as disconnected.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:CompanionCube
ID: 26120431
Last time I had to do this I had to remove the object from AD. At the end of the day, it allowed me to decommission the E2K3 server, and no one was effected.
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Author Comment

by:mmazahreh
ID: 26131623
The oject in question has sat disabled in the Microsoft Exchange System Objects container in AD since Dec 24th.  Today is the 28th.  My event logs look clear (as in no reliance on the disabled object) so I think I am clear to delete the object.  I am going to do that and come back here and award points accordingly.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:wfcraven12
ID: 26131646
Good luck.
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Author Comment

by:mmazahreh
ID: 26132292
OK, tried deleting the Object with CNF after the GUID name.  Won't delete.  Gives me an error  Tried moving it to Lost and Found.  Same deal.  Same error only the word delete has been replaced by move.  Screenshot attached.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mmazahreh
ID: 31669801
That did it.  Thanks!
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