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SBS 2011 activated but Exchange 2010 remains unlicensed

Posted on 2011-03-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
In January I installed SBS 2011 on a new server running VMWare. It all went well. Following this success I removed that test install and proceeded to migrate SBS 2003 to SBS 2011 using the MS tools and wizards, to the same box running VMWare. I followed the MS migration guide and ran all the analysers and fixed the issues before proceeding. Following the install/migration I had the message to say Exchange cannot be installed and e-mail for SharePoint could not be configured.

Please bear in mind I did this in January 2011 and the only advice I could see on the web (in serveal places) was to find the Exchange install bin and run setup.exe. I did this and it worked. I am aware now (since February) that the advice is to STOP, restore System State on SBS 2003 and start the whole migration again having fixed the thing that caused the issue.

At this time I have SBS 2011 running all the features I need without any issues I know of (that's AD/printserving/Exchange/SharePoint/LOB apps). Running the BPA states the only issue to be that I have IPv6 disabled, when it is enabled both on the NIC and in DHCP. FYI the server has static addresses as recommended.

The problem I have is this, I did not license the product immediately incase there was an issue and then it slipped my mind. However, once I entered the license key SBS 2011 was happy but the Exchange 2010 management Console reminds me it is unlicensed and I have 80 days left of the trial. Exchange will not accept the license key entered directly, either, as you would expect.

Since so much time has passed since the migration - settings updated, user changes, bigger Inboxes, new SharePoint site - I don't see I can revert to the SBS 2003 backup and re-start the migration.

My current thoughts are:

Follow the MS migration guidence to put SBS 2011 on new hardware and hope it does not notice that Exchange is not linked properly to SBS and allows the migration to work.
Attempt a Swing Migration (which may also mean I could update my domain name) but this guidence is still only "coming soon" on the website.
Find a tool like the Exchange 2007 Activation hotfix that MS prepared for use where Exchange had to be rebuilt after corruption and lost its link to SBS 2008 (this does not work with SBS11, I tried it).
Does anyone have any advice, thoughts or guidence on how to link Exchange 2010 back into SBS 2011 or on the best way to resolve it through another "migration"?
Question by:nclarkeuk
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LVL 59

Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 35074877
Might recommendation would be to sit tight and perform a swing migration.  While I am not in a position to speak authoritatively for, I did share a few meals with the founder last week as we were both in Redmond at the time, and if you still have 80 days, the kit will likely be out with plenty of time for you to read, test and use and time to spare on top.  Since your initial install did fail, there may be other things wrong as well, so this would be the safest course of action. With the support that gives, that really is a great option.


Expert Comment

ID: 35086576
I would not try to migrate again, cause you could run into the same problems. I suggest to backup the data (for exchange transfer the mails into .psts) and then start from building the server from scratch.


Author Comment

ID: 35096138

I e-mailed when I opened this question to ask them when the Swing Product might be available (the Re-Provision Kit) but I haven't heard anything yet. I could wait as you suggest but I have a couple of projects that I want to get underway (e.g. more tasks done through SharePoint) and I wouldn't want to have to re-do them again.

The Swing Migration is my current preference. I may, this weekend, see if I can create a test environment on the VM and use snapshots of the SBS11 install to test the migration to new hardware with the MS Tools.

Thanks for your suggestion.

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Author Comment

ID: 35096374

Unfortunately this is not appealing to me. I have 90 mailboxes/users and it would be a long headache. The workstations would need to be re-joined to the "new" domain as the SIDs would be all different from a fresh domain setup.

Thanks for your suggestion.

LVL 59

Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 35099043
No worries Neil. is run by an SBS MVP and it is still primarily him that runs that outfit, so when he's unavailable, replies can be a little slow. As it happens, Microsoft hosted a large gathering of MVPs in Redmond, so I'm not surprised you didn't get a reply. This is the exception, not the usual, and was just a circumstance of very unusual timing. While obviously only you know your schedule and needs, and testing a migration is *always* a good idea, I did just want to provide a little background to perhaps make the decision a little easier. I know is hard at work to get the 2011 stuff done and from what I hear, well worth the wait.


Accepted Solution

nclarkeuk earned 0 total points
ID: 35129407
I spent some time over the weekend with this and I have got to where I should have been on day 2 using my first of the three sugestions in my original Question.

Using the MS Migration Prep Tool and the MS instructions for migrating SBS 2011 to new hardware has worked. I can only assume the new installation does not check whether your old installation is SBS or is Windows Server and Exchange. No reason why it should but there's always the risk that it does check (and then fails) especially when you need a solution to work.

The only difficulty I had was that it refused to accept that the credentials I wanted to use for the migration prep tool were appropriately set (Ent/Dom/Schema Admins). As it turns out these were the same credentials I set up to run the first migration prep tool on the original SBS 2003 server. After a while trying all sorts of things I found that the builtin administrator credentials worked fine anyway. I used the migration credentials for the rest of it as planned and as before.

As we stand now the migration has gone well. I need to find some decent instructions to move the SharePoint 2010 companyweb to the new server. The MS instructions linked to the migration instructions broke my new SharePoint install. I have it working again now but I was left quite frustrated for a few hours. Also, Public Folders are not replicating/moving so I need to check that out.

The main thing for me arising out of this is that Exchange 2010 does admit that I bought it as part of my SBS 2011 license!

For completeness and the reason I could not proceed with my other thoughts:

I still haven't heard anything from so I will never know if their solution would have helped. I didn't want to keep waiting until my trial license expired on Exchange 2010.
MS may provide a Hotfix to relink Exchange 2010 to SBS 2011 in time (like the tool for Exchaneg 2007) but it might be a bit early in the lifecycle to expect anyone to have a corrupt Mailbox Store so soon...
Thanks to those that responded or quietly thought about this issue on my behalf. Hopefully my experience and this answer will help someone else in a similar position.
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Glen Knight
ID: 35361017
This question has been classified as abandoned and is being closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See my comment at the end of the question for more details.

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