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Restoring to a server that's not a domain controller

What I'm trying to accomplish is to take my existing Exchange 2003 server and demote it to a member server and move it to a different server. So should I demote my Exchange server and then run a disaster recovery installation on the new server or should I just leave my new server as a member server and do a disaster recovery without demoting the server first? I'm just wondering if it will really mess things up if I restore to a server that's not a domain controller. I'm trying to use the easiest, fastest, reliable way of course. I've made sure that my Exchange server is not the only GC Server and isn't holding and FSMO roles either. Any suggestions on how to go about this? Microsoft doesn't think too highly of demoting an Exchange server if it's initially set up as a domain controller, but it's a security hole so I need to do it. Any input is greatly appreciated.

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Well, you are right about the Microsoft recommendation. The Exchange system will be looking for itself as the configuration server and can get pretty messed up when you demote it. If you have a new piece of hardware that you are moving Exchange to, it would be best to build the new system up on the new hardware as a member server. Install Exchange on this system and then move the mailboxes to the new server. Once all of the mailboxes are off of the old system, you may uninstall Exchange. Then you will be free to demote the old server if that is still what you wish to do.

This was first published in June 2004

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