How do you decommission the Exchange Server on a SBS 2008 Server

Everything has been migrated to Office 365. Now I need to go back through the Outlook on the workstations and re-work the account for Office 365. Before doing that I am sure I need to decommission the Exchange Server. What is the proper way of doing that? Is it as simple as disabling and stopping the Exchange Services?
LVL 15
LockDown32OwnerAsked:
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

x
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

timgreen7077Exchange EngineerCommented:
After you verify that all your email traffic is successfully routing through O365 and no longer routing through your Exchange servers you can do the following:

1. turn off the servers for a few days to make sure there are no issues.
2. power the servers back on and remove all the mailbox DBs from the servers which includes public folder DBs and mailbox DBs.
3. via add/remove programs, just uninstall exchange from each of the servers, and that includes uninstalling the management tools also.
Note: dont just uninstall the roles, also uninstall the management tools from the servers. That's all you need to do.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Can't turn the server off. It is their one and only :) So a good interim plan would be to disable all Exchange Services for a couple days to make sure Office 365 is working them simply uninstall it? (tools and all)
timgreen7077Exchange EngineerCommented:
If you disable the services, its the same thing as turning off Exchange because nothing will work. So yes if you want to disable all the services that is fine, but turning the server off is the recommended best practice. Disabling services will generate errors in the event logs. Either way you choose. But once confirmed that everything is still working, then follow the uninstall steps i mentioned and that is all. Good luck.
Determine the Perfect Price for Your IT Services

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden with our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Download your free eBook now!

LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
I kind of chuckle.... turning off their one and only server, which is used for everything,  really can't be considered best practice can it? Seems like the only thing that can be done in the short term is disabling the Exchange Services. The one thing that does need to be done right away is resetting their local copies of Outlook to point to 365. Will that be doable with the Exchange Services disabled so when you add an account in Outlook it won't automatically lock on the the Exchange Server?
timgreen7077Exchange EngineerCommented:
hahaha, what's all on that server since that's their only server? what about AD, is it also on that server?
Based on this being their only server, I'm assuming you probably didn't do a hybrid migration, so you will have to recreate the outlook profile to point to the new location in O365 where their mailbox now resides. yes it is doable with those services disabled, but you will have to manually enter the information for O365 since the internal autodiscover will look for the local exchange servers.
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
It is their one and only SBS 2008 Server. AD, DHCP, DNS, Storage, the whole nine yards. The autodiscover was the sticking point. Even though there is no autodiscover entry in their local DNS there is an internal one that Outlook will grab on to?

I have seen the entries made to Outlook by Office 365 (when autodiscover works) and it is all greek. If you don't (can't) use autodiscover how do you find the manual settings for Office 365?
timgreen7077Exchange EngineerCommented:
Wow all that is on that one server. Well yep you definitely can't turn that off.

The autodiscover SCP will find the local CAS server because a SRV record is automatically created in DNS when Exchange is installed.


See the below link for assistance on adding it manually, also you can use O365 free support to assist with that part also.

https://oit.colorado.edu/tutorial/office-365-outlook-windows-manual-exchange-configuration
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalCommented:
Since it is a Small Business Server, which implies that all those things like AD, Exchange, file storage, etc. I have added SBS as a topic. SBS is kind of a unique animal when it comes to server ops.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
SBS maintenance assume exchange is running. Disabling or uninstalling it really screws up the scheduled tasks and backups. Yes  you should Uninstall exchange. But you should also migrate everything else to server standard. Running SBS without exchange long term is a bad idea, and should have come up during the O365 migration plan.
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
It did. We will be migrating servers in another 4 or 5 months. Mission one is to successfully decommission the Exchange part of the SBS 2008 Server and re-point Outlook on the workstations to O365.....
Cliff GaliherCommented:
I would strongly recommend accelerating that timeline.  

Uninstall Exchange.  That will remove the AD service connection points that like to hijack Outlook Autodiscover (not unique to SBS by the way.)

But once you do, SBS wizards and dashboards break, and the scheduled tasks will start logging excessively.  I'd plan on moving off of SBS within about 2 weeks of that step.  

In most SBS migrations, both to other servers and office 365, Exchange is the last data-related thing I migrate, for these exact reasons.  Migrate data, add a DC, migrate exchange, move FSMO, decommission...loosely in that order, where FSMO roles are not "data related" per-se.

Given most components of SBS 2008 are officially out of extended support already, this really can't be stressed enough.  It appears some aspects of the Office 365 Migration and that impact were not fully realized, and while hindsight is 20/20, it is justification to allocate whatever resources necessary to accelerate and complete the migration sooner rather than later.  Weeks, not months.

(As a baseline, an average SBS migration was bid at 40-man hours when I did them regularly, contingent on a site audit to catch "not average" edge cases.)  So they can be done relatively quickly.
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
As far as I am concerned Exchange can stay there and keep running until it is time to migrate off the SBS 2008 completely. It isn't hurting anything and won't be receiving or sending any emails. The real concern is the ability to manually configure Outlook on the workstations to point to O365. Anyone have a link to those settings?
Cliff GaliherCommented:
That's where the AD service connection points come into play. Outlook Autodiscover will find those first. And SBS tends to reset them when you try to change them. Removing (not disabling) exchange is the only reliable way to stop that behavior on SBS. It is a significant pain point.
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
That is what I mean by manually configuring Outlook and bypassing autodiscover. That link you posted Tim looks pretty straight forward. Sounds like the safest thing to do might be leave Exchange alone, manually configure Outlook then migrate and shut it off.....
Cliff GaliherCommented:
If you've moved to Office 365, I assumed you were using the O365 client apps. Outlook 2016/365 nod longer allows manual configuration for exchange accounts. Just as a heads up.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
That was noted in Tim's article as well:

"Note: Outlook 2016 only supports the AutoDiscover process for adding Exchange Online accounts. The following instructions do not apply."
Kapil SharmaTech Geek :)Commented:
Sandeep KumarAssociate ConsultantCommented:
If you did Exchange Migration properly, then now you need to do decommission of Exchange Server for cleanup of Exchange database. To decommission Exchange server, visit: https://www.kerneldatarecovery.com/blog/decommissioning-exchange-server
Sara TeasdaleCommented:
If you have already done Exchange Migration properly. Plz checkout the following articles

Decommissioning Legacy Exchange Servers
https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/mspfe/2015/08/26/decommissioning-legacy-exchange-servers/

Decommissioning Exchange Server 2013
https://www.systoolsgroup.com/updates/decommissioning-exchange-server-2013/

Decommission Exchange Server 2013
https://www.netwoven.com/2017/04/13/decommission-exchange-server-2013-2/
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
This got very interesting all of a sudden. The manual configuration of Outlook was a 30 second piece of cake and it connected to Office 365 but it didn't last long. As soon as I rebooted the workstation the Outlook settings automatically reverted to the local Exchange Server.

   Any ideas?
Cliff GaliherCommented:
What version of outlook?
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Two different versions. 2010 and 2013. Mostly 2010.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Microsoft Office

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.