Cannot remove broken Exchange 2010 server
Posted on 2014-09-02
Earlier in the year (for reasons unknown) our Exchange 2010 server decided that it would no longer start the Information Store service and load the mailbox database. Despite extensive research and posting questions here, I just could not get Exchange repaired or that IS service to start.
In the end one of my colleagues created a new VM with a fresh Exchange install on it and copied the database to it. I'm now at a point where the broken server has been down for a month or two and the new one appears to be handling everything OK. I now want to remove Exchange from that old server, remove its database entries from the EMC and just get rid of the VM completely to free up some disk space.
1. I cannot fire up Setup in any way on the broken server in order to remove Exchange bit-by-bit or all in one go. Ditto for trying via Add/Remove Programs. The Exchange installer pops up a dialog telling me that Exchange is in an inconsistent state (oh really?) and Setup cannot continue. I read somewhere to try setup.com directly - same thing.
2. Looking at the EMC from the new server there are 2 database entries for the old server - the main 'Mailbox Database 12345678' one and a Public Folder database. EMC refuses to remove these. Trying to remove the old main DB gives this error which means nothing to me whatsoever -
This mailbox database contains one or more mailboxes, mailbox plans, archive mailboxes, or arbitration mailboxes. To get a list of all mailboxes in this database, run the command Get-Mailbox -Database <Database ID>. To get a list of all mailbox plans in this database, run the command Get-MailboxPlan. To get a list of archive mailboxes in this database, run the command Get-Mailbox -Database <Database ID> -Archive. To get a list of all arbitration mailboxes in this database, run the command Get-Mailbox -Database <Database ID> -Arbitration. To disable a non-arbitration mailbox so that you can delete the mailbox database, run the command Disable-Mailbox <Mailbox ID>. To disable an archive mailbox so you can delete the mailbox database, run the command Disable-Mailbox <Mailbox ID> -Archive. Arbitration mailboxes should be moved to another server; to do this, run the command New-MoveRequest <parameters>. If this is the last server in the organization, run the command Disable-Mailbox <Mailbox ID> -Arbitration -DisableLastArbitrationMailboxAllowed to disable the arbitration mailbox. Mailbox plans should be moved to another server; to do this, run the command Set-MailboxPlan <MailboxPlan ID> -Database <Database ID>.
When trying to remove the old Public Folder DB the error is a little less cryptic in that it states it can't contact that database on the old server - which won't run the IS service to load it of course, hence this problem in the first place!
I'm guessing that I will have to manually chop it out of AD and Exchange whilst being careful not to remove anything that will upset the remaining server.