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Performing a recovery install and related AD attributes

In the case you find yourself with a broken server and no way of recovering it, the recovery install in Exchange 2007 and 2010 might just be a way to avoid messing around with system repair or even system state recoveries. This option actually allows you to remove this kind of backup strategy all together! Why you might ask, well, simply put, starting from Exchange 2007 all configuration data is stored in the active directory, more specifically in the configuration partition of the active directory:

CN=ExServerName,CN=Servers,CN=First Administrative Group,CN=Administrative Groups,CN=ExOrg Name,CN=Microsoft Exchange, CN=Services, CN=Configuration, DC=DomainName,CN=Com

Let’s have a closer look at this shall we?

  1. Open adsiedit.msc
  2. Right click and slect “connect to”
  3. Under select a well know naming context select the configuration from the dropdown
  4. Drill down configuration, services, Microsoft Exchange, the name of your organisation, administrative groups, Exchange administrative group, servers
  5. Right click one of the server objects in this field
  6. Scroll down until you see the msExchCurrentServerRoles

In my case the number here is 38. What this number represents is the sum of which roles have been installed! Each role has its own value and Exchange knows what kind of roles need to be installed if you perform a recovery installation. Pretty neat isn’t it?

Server Role

msExchangeCurrentServerRoles value

Mailbox Server

2

Client Access Server

4

Unified Messaging Server

16

Hub Transport Server

32

Edge Server

64

So, in case you want to perform a recovery server install you can do the following:

  1. Install your base operating system with the same name as the server you want to install
  2. Setup any required prerequisites
  3. Start the Exchange setup as follows:
  4. Setup  /m:recoverserver
  5. Wait for setup to complete
  6. Restore any databases if required.

If you take a minute to scroll through these attributes in the properties of the server object you see that there are A LOT of configuration settings stored here! For example there is msexchinstallpath which contains the installation path for Exchange, msExchCustomerFeedbackEnabled to see whether or not Exchange will send back feedback to Microsoft, msExchELCAuditLogPath for the auditing logs and many, many more!


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