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Rebuild an Exchange 2007 server after a crash

This tip will help you prepare for an Exchange 2007 server crash. Learn why you need to bring Windows back up first and what not to do when rebuilding an Exchange 2007 server.

If you're rebuilding a damaged Exchange 2007 server, the first thing you need to do is return Windows to a functional state. After reinstalling Windows you must make sure that your server's disk is configured identically to how it was on the failed server.

You also need to install all of Exchange Server's required components, just as you did when you initially installed Exchange 2007. I also recommend that you apply the same set of patches to the OS that were in place before the crash.

After you've installed and configured Windows, you need to attach it to the domain. And it's critical that you do this correctly. Your Exchange Server configuration is tied to the computer account, which is connected to your old server. Before connecting your server to Active Directory, you must reset the computer account.

To reset the computer account, open Active Directory Users and Computers and select the Computers container. Next, right-click on the name of the failed server and select the Reset Account command. Finally, assign your Exchange Server the same name as the failed server and then join the domain as you normally would. Do not delete the old server's computer account. If you do, it will be impossible to rebuild Exchange Server.

After you've properly configured Windows, it's time to rebuild Exchange Server 2007. To begin, insert your Exchange installation media and run the following command:

Setup.exe /M:RecoverServer

Be sure that your installation media includes the same service pack that was previously installed.

When you execute this command, Setup will:

  1. Check the prerequisite to ensure that all necessary components are installed
  2. Copy Exchange binaries to the server
  3. Use Active Directory to configure the server.

When I first attempted the recovery process, it would not complete because my edge synchronization had broken. A TechNet article advised me to use the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) to remove the edge subscription, then to manually reestablish it once the server was functioning.

At first I was discouraged because the crash had destroyed the Exchange Management Console and Exchange Management Shell. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the management tools had been reinstalled and returned to a functional state when I copied the Exchange binaries. This made it easy to use the Remove-EdgeSubscription command to remove my edge subscription. After that, I was able to rerun Setup and rebuild my server.

About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a six-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his work with Exchange Server, Windows Server, Internet Information Services (IIS), and File Systems and Storage. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, Brien has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal website at

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