Exchange 2010 not recognizing a Domain controller

Posted on 2014-03-25
Last Modified: 2014-04-01
I have an Exchange 2010 server set up on a Windows 2008 R2 server, that is also set up as a domain controller, but the Exchange side will not recognize itself as an Domain Controller or Global Catalog server.

 Now I am aware that it is unsupported, and generally a bad idea, to have Exchange installed on a DC. I am not the one who set this up, and changing this set up is currently not an option. I do know that they can work when set up this way though, and am lost as to what is preventing it from working. I am hoping I am missing something simple.

To lay out the network, There are two servers:

 A Windows 2003 SBS premise server that was the original DC and currently holds the FSMO roles. This server also used to be their Exchange server before the 2010 server was added to the network.

 The Windows 2008 R2 server is at a separate location connected with a point-to-point private line. It was added as a second DC with GC and runs Exchange 2010.

 These servers are on the same local subnet across the private line.

 The 2003 Premise server has begun having some stability issues, and it quickly became clear that the Exchange server was unable to function when it was down. Looking deeper into the problem, I found that Exchange was only seeing the Premise server for Domain Controllers and Global Catalog under Server Configuration properties.

 I manually checked all DNS settings and do not see anything missing for the Exchange server in the records. I found everything I expected to, and there were no records for the 2003 server that were not there for the Exchange server.

 I am able to move the FSMO roles to the Exchange server successfully. This doesn't change anything on the exchange side. An interesting error that occurs, about two days after moving the FSMO roles the 2003 SBS server shuts down. SBCore detects a second 2003 SBS domain controller in the network and shuts the server down due to EULA conflicts. I have tested and confirmed that moving the FSMO roles cause this. Not sure if it is related, but is definitely odd to me.

 I've tried setting the "Configuration Domain Controller" manually to point to the Exchange server, which sticks but does not help anything.  I've tried using the Exchange Management Shell to manually set Static Domain Controllers and Preferred Domain Controllers.

 Both seem to work if I do a Get-ADServerSettings, but do not change in the EMC. If I reboot the server, everything is cleared and back showing just the 2003 DC once it is back up.

 It is quite possible that something was not configured correctly when this DC was added to the Windows 2003 SBS domain, but I do not know where else to look. I am hoping the fact that it is an SBS domain doesn't make impossible. I would very much appreciate anything that may point me in the right direction.

Question by:jscarb0r0ugh
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Expert Comment

ID: 39953859
the sbs server must hold all FSMO roles
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39954033
When Exchange is installed on a domain controller, it causes all other Exchange servers to only use that domain controller. Therefore the fact that you have other servers with Exchange and the DC functionality on them is probably the cause of your problems with Exchange (not withstanding the FSMO roles issue flagged already).

The only way to get round this problem is to get Exchange off the domain controllers - all of them.

If you are intending to remove the SBS server, then do so, in the correct way. That is documented on Technet. Remember that you have to remove Exchange from the domain controller - running DCPROMO on an Exchange server is not supported and will usually cause Exchange to break.


Author Comment

ID: 39954085
Thank you for your responses!

SmithandAnderson: Noted about the FSMO roles, I had begun to suspect something along those lines. Thank you.

 Simon: I was not aware that it forced all of the Exchange servers to use it, so that does sound like a probable cause. Thank you for that information!

  At this moment there is no possibility of getting a new server in place, or to remove the ones currently there. I am hoping that will change in the near future so that I can put in a new stand alone DC, and do away with the SBS server.

  Right now, my goal is to at least have the 2008 Exchange server point to only itself, so that it can continue working if the SBS server flakes out again. Exchange is still installed on the SBS server, just disabled (again inherited problems).

 Understanding this is not the optimal solution. Would removing Exchange from the SBS server cause the Exchange on the 2008 server to point to itself, or would I have to remove both and re-install Exchange onto the 2008 server?
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LVL 63

Accepted Solution

Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 500 total points
ID: 39954456
If you remove Exchange from the SBS server, then reboot both the SBS server and the existing Exchange server, Exchange should then point to itself. You must ensure the server Exchange is installed on has the global catalog role enabled (you can have multiple global catalogs even with SBS).


Author Comment

ID: 39956023
I will remove Exchange from the SBS server later this week and let you know if it solves to problem. Both servers are already GC's.

I appreciate the help!

Author Comment

ID: 39962640
No luck unfortunately. Successfully removed Exchange from the SBS server, rebooted both, with no changes to the 2008 Exchange server. Still pointing to the SBS, still cant change that fact.

Going to look into setting up a temporary virtual DC to see if it can hold the Exchange server when the SBS goes down, or if it is indefinitely locked to the SBS.

At least removing Exchange is part of the migration process once I can get a new server in place, so it wasn't wasted time.
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39964071
Shouldn't be locked to the SBS Server, unless someone ran a command to do that.
Once Exchange has been removed from the SBS server and both servers rebooted, Exchange should use other domain controllers.

Check if a static DC has been set.


Author Comment

ID: 39964094
A static DC was not set, and my attempts to staticly set the it as the Exchange server failed.
 The commands would appear to take in the management shell, but not in the EMC. Then would revert once rebooted.
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39964284
That is odd behaviour.
Two things to try

1. Try logging in to the server as an Enterprise Admin, then use an elevated EMS to set the command.

2. Completely wacky idea, but try running AD Prep commands from the Exchange 2010 SP3 media again. Leave it at least 30 minutes before trying again.
Prep is non-destructive and doesn't require anything to be rebooted.


Author Comment

ID: 39970462
Was able to get things working! Turns out that IPv6 was turned off at the NIC on the 2008 Exchange server. Once that was turned on it was able to look to itself  for Active Directory and Global Catalog.

I am not sure how long its been disabled, but I believe Exchange still needed to be removed from the SBS for this to work. Thanks for all of your help!

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