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How can I restore an Exchange 2000 server to different hardware in a live environment?

Is there any documentation anywhere about how to restore an Exchange 2000 server to different hardware in a live environment?

I'm trying to do a disaster recovery plan for our organization. However, Microsoft only tells how to restore to the same hardware (this may not be possible in a real-life situation). If you don't have the same hardware, then restoring system state data is impossible (and, therefore, so is running setup with the /disasterrecovery switch).

I've tried something along these lines in a test environment. I've got an exact copy of one of our domain controllers. I'm installing Exchange 2000 Server into the Exchange site with a different server name and then trying to restore the information store from the "failed" server to the new server.

I've got as far as restoring the databases successfully but I cannot find a way of re-establishing the link between the mailboxes and the user accounts. The mailboxes all appear to be disconnected, but I am unable to reconnect them individually or with the DBCONN tool. The mailbox cleanup agent and running recipient update services do not reconnect the mailboxes to the user account.

I'm thinking along the lines of an import and export tool that can change the home server of the user's Exchange attributes to the new server. Any pointers would be gratefully received.
Let me say from the outset that I sympathize with you. Disaster recovery plan testing can be one of the most frustrating processes in this profession.

I'm assuming that you have already read Microsoft's white paper on Exchange 2000 Server database recovery. And I'm also assuming you mean MBCONN, not DBCONN. In fact, you're not the only one who has experienced problems with MBCONN. If you're using version 6.0.4417 of MBCONN, have a look at this KB article, which discusses the more common problems with MBCONN, and how to work around them.

Also, it just so happens that on Jan. 7, 2003 at 10 a.m. PST, Microsoft is giving a webcast on Exchange 2000 alternate server data recovery. Mike Lee, the author of the aforementioned database recovery white paper, is presenting this webcast.

I also recommend downloading Microsoft's new book, Disaster recovery for Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server, which you can get for free in PDF format.

This was last published in December 2002

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