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Exchange 2003 Disaster Recovery – How To ???

Disaster recovery is the process or procedures related to preparing for recovery or continuation of messaging infrastructure critical to an organization after a natural or human-induced disaster.

Before Proceeding, please refer to the articles :

How to Move Exchange Server 2003 to New Hardware and Keep the Same Server Name:

How to move Exchange 2000 to new hardware and keep the same server name:


Scenario 1 – Move old server to a new one.

Scenario 2 – Server Crashed, then proceed from step 6


1. Dismount the Mailbox & public Folder store and copy the MDBDATA folder to a different machine.

2. Make sure all the databases are in a clean shutdown state.

3. Also copy the Mail Queue folder if you have any items in the folder.

4. Also copy if you have any other important data.

5. If the box is also a Domain Controller, use DCPROMO and demote it gracefully. That would clean up the entries of this DC from Active Directory

6.  In ADUC–> Right click the computer object and Reset the account. This would reset the SID of the old machine in AD

7. Install the operating system from scratch on a workstation and use the same Computer Name as of the old server.

8. IP address can be different but make it same since we have a DNS entry

9. Install IIS, ASP.NET, SMTP and NNTP, also the latest service packs / Security updates for Windows.

10. Once the updates are completed, join the server to the domain and install Exchange using Setup /Disasterrecovery switch.

11. This would install the server with the information available from Active Directory.

12. Install the latest service pack and hot fixes as that of the old server.

13. Once the installation is complete, on the server in ESM, give full control for the SERVER Object and make sure all the Exchange services are started.

14. Now rename the MDBDATA folder on the new server and copy the old MDBDATA from the backup location or restore from an online backup.

15. Mount the stores and verify both internal and external mail flow.

16. Monitor the application logs for at least 20 minutes and confirm issue resolution.

NB: If exchange was installed on a different drive rather than the C Drive, we need look into some attributes in ADSIEdit.msc

If not sure about the server name, Admin group name or any other details, we can find the same from ADSIEDIT since the configuration container will have all exchange info intact.


ATTRIBUTES TO LOOK FOR DISASTER RECOVERY if exchange was installed on a different Drive


1.       On the server object level



Both in same location by default


2.       On the Storage group level



Both in same location by default


3.       On the mailbox store / public store level



Both in same location by default


4.       On the SMTP Virtual Server level




Meera Nair

6 Responses to “Exchange 2003 Disaster Recovery – How To ???”

  1. Sriharsha Says:

    Hi rathish/meera ,

    the articles that u guys have put up is really helpful , i keep reffering to this .

    If possibble please add some more content .

    Thanks & Regards

  2. Umakant Sethi Says:

    Hello Meera,
    I was just wondering for the immidieate crash of my member exchange server.This article is really helpful. I want to add in my blog if you like to do so.

    Umakant Sethi

  3. Shambhu Says:

    There are more things to do in disaster recovery. If server crashed,then I don’t think so the server’s databases will down in clean shutdown. Most of time it will give you problem when you bring up the database on new server. So read more on disaster recovery.

  4. Ratish Sekhar Says:

    @Shambu: I value positive critisicm, but you might wanna refer to

  5. sanjeev Says:

    it seems to be ok but i would have really appreciated this article more if u could have added couple of snapshot for more details to ge a complete idea

  6. Jacklyn Says:

    youte the best

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