How to Decommission Exchange Server 2007

Summary: This blog explains the process to uninstall and decommission MS Exchange Server 2007 after Office 365 or Exchange 2010, 2013, 2016 or 2019 migration from Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 platforms. These methods include the uninstallation of associated Exchange database files by using Graphical User Interface (GUI) and Command Line Interface (CUI).

After migrating Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 or later version, you can decommission the old server to either repurpose the server or discard it to save cost. This can be done by uninstalling Exchange Server 2007 from the server by going to Add/Remove Programs in Windows server.

However, to completely remove the Exchange and decommission the server, it requires you to prepare the server for uninstallation. This involves a number of tasks such as uninstalling Server roles, Exchange Server objects, removing the installation of files, and child objects from Active Directory (AD).

Permissions Required to Decommission Exchange Server 2007

To decommission Exchange server 2007, you must have administrator account access. The account must delegate the Exchange Organization Administrator role to the concerned Database Administrator (DBA) of the organization. In Exchange organization, the members of Exchange Organization Administrator possess the highest level of permissions. This is required as the members of Exchange Organization Administrators have a set of permissions that includes:

  • Owners of Exchange organization in the configuration container of Active Directory (AD)
  • All local Server configuration data
  • Read access to all domain user containers in the AD
  • Write access to all EDB specific attributes in the domain user containers in the AD

Now that we are aware of the set of permissions, let’s now look at the steps to decommission the Exchange Server 2007.

WARNING: Before uninstalling and decommissioning the Exchange 2007 database, back up entire database to avoid any data loss situation. You may use an EDB to PST Converter software to transfer multiple offline EDB files to the Outlook PST file as backup.

Steps to Decommission Exchange Server 2007

You can uninstall and decommission the Exchange Server 2007 from Windows Server 2003 or 2008 platform by following two different ways,

  • Using Control Panel (Graphical User Interface)
  • Using Command Prompt (Command Line Interface)

Both methods are discussed below. However, before that, you need to prepare Exchange for uninstall. For this, use the following commands,

  • Remove default Public folders
Get-PublicFolder "\" -Recurse -ResultSize:Unlimited |
Remove-PublicFolder -Recurse -ErrorAction:SilentlyContinue
  • Remove system Public folders
Get-PublicFolder "\Non_Ipm_Subtree" -Recurse -ResultSize:Unlimited |
Remove-PublicFolder -Recurse -ErrorAction:SilentlyContinue
  • Remove Offline Address Book
Get-OfflineAddressBook | Remove-OfflineAddressBook
  • Remove send connectors
Get-SendConnector | Remove-SendConnector
  • Remove Public Folder database (SBS 2011/Exchange 2010 Only)
Get-PublicFolderDatabase | Remove-PublicFolderDatabase
  • Remove arbitration mailboxes (SBS 2011/Exchange 2010 Only)
Get-Mailbox -Arbitration | Disable-Mailbox -Arbitration -DisableLastArbitrationMailboxAllowed
  • Remove mailboxes
Get-Mailbox | Disable-Mailbox

Now that the server is prepared, you can follow the given methods to remove and decommission Exchange Server 2007.

Method 1: Uninstall and Decommission Exchange Server 2007 by using Control Panel

Step 1. Log on to the Server from which the Exchange 2007 needs to be removed

Step 2. Navigate to the Control Panel and click on Add or Remove Programs

Step 3. In the Change or Remove Programs page that appears, select Microsoft Exchange Server and then click on Remove

Step 4. On the Exchange Maintenance Mode page in Exchange Server 2007 Setup Wizard, click on Next

Step 5. On the Server Role Selection page, clear the Management Tools checkbox and all the checkboxes associated with server roles and click on Next

Note: All the server roles are selected by default, therefore, it is important to specify the roles that need to be removed by clearing (uncheck) the associated checkboxes.

Step 6. On Readiness Checks page, click on Uninstall after the check is completed

Step 7. On the Completion page that appears, click on Finish

Step 8. Next, there are some optional steps that you can either execute or skip to proceed further. These steps are as follows,

  • If you are removing Exchange 2007 from Mailbox Server, remove the ‘*.edb’ and ‘*.log’ files (Exchange database files and Storage group log files, respectively).
  • Remove Setup log files located at “%systemdrive%\ExchangeSetupLogs”
  • Remove the Virtual Servers being created for Exchange Server 2007 under Default Web Site in Internet Information Services (IIS). These Virtual Servers include Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync, OWA and OAB. When Exchange 2007 is removed, neither the virtual servers nor the IIS are removed.

Method 2: Uninstall and Decommission Exchange 2007 by using Command Prompt

To uninstall Exchange Server 2007 by using command line interface, firstly, log on to the server as administrator. Then follow the steps below:

Step 1: Open Command Prompt and use cd command to change directory where the Exchange Server 2007 files are installed. By default, this directory is located at “%programfiles%\Microsoft\Exchange Server”

Step 2: Next, navigate to \bin directory and then use the following syntax to uninstall the Exchange server,Setup.com /mode:uninstall

Step 3: The next three steps are optional. You can execute them as per your preference and requirements,

  • To remove Mailbox Server role from the computer, remove ‘*.edb’ (Exchange database files) and ‘*.log’ (Storage group log files) from the server
  • Remove setup log files being located at “%systemdrive%\ExchangeSetupLogs”
  • Remove the Virtual Servers being created for Exchange Server 2007 under Default Web Site in Internet Information Services (IIS). The list of virtual servers includes Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync, OWA and OAB

Conclusion

By following the above-given steps, you can uninstall and decommission MS Exchange Server 2007 from Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 after Exchange 2010, 2013, 2016, or 2019 migration is accomplished successfully. But before uninstalling Exchange 2007 database, it is recommended to back up the entire database to avoid any data loss. You may also need to export mailboxes from the decommissioned Exchange server, which you can do by using software such as Stellar Converter for EDB. The software helps you export mailboxes from the decommissioned Exchange server without setting up the complete Exchange server and AD. It quickly converts mailboxes from Offline EDB file to the PST file format so that you can access the mailbox items from any Outlook without connecting to a server or import the mailbox to Exchange or Office 365 accounts.

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