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Demote exchange server

Posted on 2011-09-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
First of all I know that there is a 99.99999% chance that this is going to completely hose exchange.

But we have an exchange 2003 server that is also a domain controller.

We need to get rid the domain controller roles on that server, but everything I have read, said demoting an exchange server that is a domain controller will break the exchange server. However, for some reason they want me to at least try doing this.

What I am going to do before I do this is preform a Physical to Virtual move of this exchange server before I attempt to demote it. That way when it breaks, I can simply turn off the hosed server, and spin up the VM which has not been changed.

My question is this though. When I run the dcpromo and attempt to remove the domain controller roles from this server will this screw up anything in the network that would prevent me from simply turning on the clone of this server I made and have everything back and working again?

Just to avoid confusion, I'm cloning the current working version of the server to a VM. When dcpromo screws up the current server, my plan is to turn on the VM that I made from the working version of the server.

Will that work? My concern is that the DCpromo will somehow change entries and what not on the other domain controller so that it won't look for the exchange server anymore where it is suppose to be.

Thanks in advance!
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Question by:themightydude
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Expert Comment

by:nixkuroi
ID: 36553054
The time I tried this, running dcpromo to demote a win2003 server with exchange hosed the exchange server because demoting the server erases the instance of active directory and all of the users in it.  Not only did it hose exchange, but it also made it impossible to reinstall in my case.  I wouldn't recommend it.  If you do, you might want to make sure your users are migrated to another active director server and uninstall exchange before demoting it.  Then you can try to reinstall it and not have any of the complications I ran into.
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Author Comment

by:themightydude
ID: 36553061
I have another server that is a secondary DC/AD server.

But when the exchange server gets hosed, I should be able to simply turn on the clone that I made of the working version of the exchange server and be good to go right?
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Accepted Solution

by:
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 36553086
Quit.

Tell your bosses, that if they insist on you doing this, you quit - they can hire someone else to do it.

Because if you don't, and if you do this, you'll likely spend the better part of a week trying to recover things and in the end, you'll probably end up rebuilding the domain.  And that assumes you work a regular 14-16 hour day for that week.

If you DEMOTE the server, then the rest of AD will KNOW that server is gone.  If you then turn on the VM, the VM will THINK it's on the network, but the other DCs will instead think there's a DC impersonating another DC in the network and refuse to replicate with it.

If you want to see what will happen, then create a virtualized copy of your network and TEST it on the virtualized COPY, NOT on the production network.  And by network, I mean a FULLY segregated network that has no physical or logical connectivity to the original network.

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Assisted Solution

by:Neil Russell
Neil Russell earned 250 total points
ID: 36553251
Your ONLY REAL option is as follows...

Install a NEW exchange server into the oranization and MOVE ALL mailboxes to it. Replicate public folders to it. make sure it works.
Uninstall exchange from the DC.
Demote the DC
You have now lost the DC and have exchange working on a standalone machine/VM

DO NOT TRY DCPROMO ON THE EXCHANGE BOX WHILE IT LIVE WITH EXCHANGE


And no, you cant demote the DC and then bring the VM back to life, it wont work.
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Author Comment

by:themightydude
ID: 36555473
Thank you for the responses. Was able to get this canceled.
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by:themightydude
ID: 36555474
answered
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