I had to recently redo an Exchange Server 2010 mailbox server’s operating system because the incorrect version was used to for the OS and while I thought about simply using a swing approach where I’d installed another mailbox server, migrate mail, rebuild the operating system of the original server and migrate mail back (what we used to call a “swing migration”), I decided to simply treat the operation as a “disaster recovery” because:
1. An Exchange 2010 mailbox server in evaluation mode can only mount 5 information stores.
2. A swing migration like this would take too much time where as a disaster recovery would probably take me an hour to complete.
3. Since I already have the edb and log files intact, I did not need to do a backup and restore.
So while performing this recovery, I thought it it would be beneficial to document the process allowing me to write this blog post in case someone is looking for a walkthrough with screenshots.
Note that you can find the following 2 TechNet articles is what I used for this operation:
Understanding Backup, Restore and Disaster Recovery – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd876874.aspx
Recover an Exchange Server – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd876880.aspx
Prepare the new server’s operating system – the first step is to either create a new virtual machine or reconfigure a physical server and install the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system.
Configure the IP address – It is important that you configure the new server’s IP address to be the same as the old server.
Reset the computer account of the old Exchange Server – Make sure you do not delete the computer account but rather reset the password with Active Directory Users and Computers.
Name the new Exchange 2010 mailbox server – Make sure that you name the new mailbox server to be the same as the old one.
Join the new Exchange 2010 mailbox server to the domain – If the new server is still in a workgroup, join it to the domain.
Prepare the new Exchange 2010 mailbox server’s roles and features – You can either manually install all of the prerequisites or use the script found here: http://terenceluk.blogspot.com/2010/07/exchange-2010-resource-domain-install.html. Note that the Office Filter Pack found in the blog post is 1.0 and with Exchange Server 2010 SP1, you should install the Office Filter Pack 2.0 which can be downloaded from here: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=191548. The following is what the PowerShell script that installs the prerequisites look like:
Restart the server – Make sure you restart the server when you’ve completed the prerequisites install.
Configure the Exchange 2010 mailbox information store and log drives – Make sure you configure the Exchange information store (.edb) and log (.log) drives with the same drive name and folder path as the previous mailbox server. For this example, the information store is stored on the E drive and the logs are stored on the F drive. Failure to preconfigure those drives will result in messages as such when you try to recover the server:
Recovering the Mailbox Server
Now that all of the prerequisites have been installed and configured, proceed with the following steps:
Exchange Server 2010 SP1 installation files – Make sure the Exchange Server 2010 SP1 installation files are accessible by the new mailbox server whether it’s a DVD in the DVD-ROM drive or simply an extracted folder.
Open up a command prompt with administrator permissions to run setup – Recovering the Exchange Server 2010’s mailbox server is actually quite simple and the process is to simply execute the setup.exe executable from the installation binaries with the /m:RecoverServer switch as such:
Allow the recovery process to execute – Once you’ve ran setup.exe with the appropriate switch, you’ll see the setup go through the required prerequisite checks and then proceed to reinstall the mailbox role:
Reboot the server – Once the process completes, proceed with rebooting the server.
Check the services – Once the reboot of the server completes, proceed with checking the services and ensure that all of the automatic ones start up successfully.
Mount the information stores – Upon completion of the mailbox server recovery, Exchange will not mount the stores for you so start the Exchange Management Console and manually mount all of the stores.
Post Mailbox Server Recovery
Test Exchange services – Test all Exchange services (internal and external email, offline address book, public folders, free/busy, etc).
Review event logs – Ensure that you review the new mailbox server’s event logs and make sure there are no unexpected errors logged.
Hope this helps anyone who may be looking for more information about what the recovery process looks like. I’ll be writing another hub transport and CAS server recovery after this post.