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Removing Exchange Server 2003 after a staged migration to Exchange Online

Posted on 2014-11-18
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Last Modified: 2014-11-23
What is the best practice for removing the Exchange 2003 servers from the enterprise after having migrated all mailboxes to Exchange Online? The AD user accounts are now mail enabled to the Exchange Online mailboxes. The Exchange 2003 Management Console still show the mailboxes, but now with a red cross, after having run the cleanup agent.

How to safely remove all the users from the Exchange 2003 environment and remove all Exchange servers on premises?
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Question by:NicoNL
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by:Jasvindar Singh
Jasvindar Singh earned 400 total points
ID: 40450555
Post performing Staged Migration for all the user in the organization. Then only step that you need to perform is to, point your MX record to Office 365.

Make sure you change the MX record during Weekend, as sometimes it takes up to 48 hours for MX record to propagate across all the DNS globally (Depends on DNS registrar)

Now, you can decommission your On-Premise Exchange Server.

(To be on the safer side, post updating MX record, switch off your Exchange server for couple of days and monitor)

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj898486(v=exchg.150).aspx
Check the last step mentioned in the above article, it speaks about the same steps that I described above.
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Gareth Gudger earned 1600 total points
ID: 40451536
The Exchange 2003 Management Console still show the mailboxes, but now with a red cross, after having run the cleanup agent.

So it sounds like all your mailboxes are disconnected. How many are we talking? If not many, you can just right click on each one and select Purge. Then hit F5 to refresh and they should all be gone. You may wish to do one final backup before you delete them forever.

If you have a lot of mailboxes it may be easily to drop the mailbox recovery threshold down to 0 days and run the Cleanup Agent a second time. They explain how to do this in this article. http://www.msexchange.org/articles-tutorials/exchange-server-2000/high-availability-recovery/MF022.html

You will also need to delete all Public Folders (hopefully you moved all these - you may want a final backup of these as well).

Once all users are removed, you need to delete your databases. Delete the Public Folder database first (probably going to run into issues here) and then delete the Mailbox database second.

Once the databases are gone you need to remove Recipient Update Services with ADSI Edit. Then you should be able to uninstall Exchange 2003 from Add/Remove Programs.

I wont got into too much detail yet. Just want to make sure you can nuke all the user mailboxes out first and curious what Public Folder errors you may get.
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Author Comment

by:NicoNL
ID: 40452180
This morning I have updated all MX records. TTL was set to 60 seconds, so updating shouldn't take too long I hope. In EAC there is no action required for the domains anymore. So the next step is to decommission the on premises Exchange Servers.

First I still have to export some not migrated mailboxes to a pst file. Then remove these accounts.

Then power off the Exchange Servers for a few days and monitor for issues.

Public Folders were not used and are as good as empty. I will check the Deleted Item Recovery settings, make a last back-up. Then start the database deletion. How to delete the database? Dismount the store and remove the databases? Then remount to an empty database?

Next delete Recipient Update Services. Exchange Online no more uses Recipient Update Services.

Then the last step is to uninstall the Exchange servers.
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LVL 31

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by:Gareth Gudger
Gareth Gudger earned 1600 total points
ID: 40452884
Public Folders were not used and are as good as empty. I will check the Deleted Item Recovery settings, make a last back-up. Then start the database deletion. How to delete the database? Dismount the store and remove the databases? Then remount to an empty database?

Yes you can do that. As long as no data needs to be saved/moved.

The rest of your process looks good.
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Author Comment

by:NicoNL
ID: 40459957
Thanks for the tips.
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Expert Comment

by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 40460545
Glad to help!
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