Recovering Exchange 2010 – Notes from the Field

With Exchange 2007/2010 more tightly integrated with Active Directory, recovering a server after a loss of hardware can be significantly easier than with previous version of Exchange. This is a boon for those of us in smaller offices where only one Exchange Server exists, holding multiple roles.

Check out this TechNet article with the basics for recovering Exchange 2010. However, there are some little tips that would be helpful, especially when you might be working under a stressful situtation to restore your mail system.

  1. Make sure you know where your install directory is if Exchange isn’t installed in the default location.  If you don’t have it written down as part of your disaster recovery documentation, you can get that information out of Active Directory using ADSIEDIT.
  2. Make sure you know the additional syntax for “setup /m:RecoverServer” switch. If you need to change the target directory the proper syntax is /t:”D:\Microsoft\Exchange\V14″ or whatever your custom path happens to be.
  3. If you are planning on using the /InstallWindowsComponents switch to save some time with getting your IIS settings just right, make sure you’ve preinstalled the .NET Framework 3.5.1 feature set first.
  4. Don’t forget to preinstall the Office 2010 Filter Packs. You don’t need them to complete the setup, but you will be reminded about them as a requirement. 
  5. Make sure you install your remote agent (or whatever components are necessary) for your backup software. Once the Exchange installation is restored, you’ll need to mark your databases as “This database can be overwritten by a restore” so that you can restore the user data.

As always, planning ahead will save you in times of trouble.  Happy disaster recovery planning (and testing)!

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