Back to the Future

Do you ever have one of those days where someone says something that makes you stop in shock?

There have been some Exchange projects where the server version has been… unexpected, to say the least. In the first project, the client told me they needed help to decommission the Exchange 2010 service. Now that was awkward and there were legacy reasons for it, so I’ve been planning and preparing my client to migrate the mailboxes and mail flow to Exchange 2016. So no real issues, and that is going through without problems.

The second project is much trickier, as that client has Exchange 2007 floating around their estate. It turned out they have migrated the mailboxes to Exchange 2013 and removed the storage groups and public folder databases. They’re just having problems running the Uninstallation process.

When you run the uninstallation for Exchange 2007 via either the Add/Remove Programs or using setup /uninstall; the server checks that it can access the Active Directory and check for certain pre-requisites. In this instance, the application returns the following issue “Cannot find at least one global catalog”. After a little investigation, the Active Directory has Windows 2016 Domain Controllers, which Exchange 2007 cannot support. So we’re working on building a Windows 2012R2 server and promoting it to a Domain Controller. Once the Exchange 2007 servers are decommissioned, the Win2012 Domain Controllers can be demoted.

So how do we remove Exchange 2007/2010 from the email service cleanly? Well there are three things we can do:

  1. Either use “Add/Remove Programs” from the Control Panel or type “setup /uninstall” from a Command Prompt in the Exchange\bin folder.
  2. From a Command Prompt in the Exchange\bin folder, run “setup /recoverserver”. Once completed, try the uninstallation again.
  3. If neither will work, you can carry out a manual decommission of Exchange. Fazel Khan has an excellent article on how to complete this but I will point out that the process is not supported by Microsoft.

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