Monday, February 8, 2010

Recover Failed Exchange Server with /M:RecoverServer Switch


One of your Exchange CAS box crashed, and you have no way of getting it back. As many of you know bringing another Exchange server with same name and IP address wont simply work because the information in regards to failed exchange server is still does exist in Active directory and Exchange utilize Domain, Configuration and Schema partitions in the .DIT database.

So we will use fallowing switch to perform installation, if this is a mailbox server please read the article Henrik wrote

You may ask yourself why are we using recovery switch, again we want setup to go to AD and read the information about failed server and make the new server we are bringing *** We use same IP and same server name***

Steps taken:

  • Install fresh Server ( in this case Windows 2008 Sp1)
  • Give same IP and Same computer name as previous failed Exchange server, Join domain and make sure your account is added into Local administrator and you have proper Exchange administrator rights.
  • Reset computer account in AD
  • Make sure Server is identical as the failed one, keep same drive letters etc
  • Copy Exchange installation binaries onto this server
  • Drill to that directory and use fallowing switch
> /M:RecoverServer

**** if you are receiving fallowing errors, fallow the additional steps before you move on ****

“You must perform disaster recovery using the same version of Exchange as the last installed version. The current installed version is ‘’ the last installed version was ‘’

This translated into , simply The failed Exchange Server version number is SP2, you are using Exchange CD with SP1 and trying to run recovery switch.

As you can see setup is going to AD and reading attribute called “SerialNumber" from failed server object so what we will have to do little trick in AD and modify this attribute.


Open ADSIedit or ADExplorer   to

  • Configuration
  • Services
  • Administrative Groups
  • CN=ServerName

Find the attribute called SerialNumber and modify it.


if you are receiving this “

The current installed version is the last installed version was”

  • Current Version 8.2 (Build 30176.2)  (SP2)
  • installed version is ( build 30240.6) (SP1)



Check out the build numbers.

Change the version number to , allow the setup to run, without complaining


Oz Casey , Dedeal

MCSE 2003, M+, S+, MCDST
Security+, Project +, Server +

Http:// (Blog

Http:// (Blog)

Http:// (Blog)


Michel de Rooij said...

That warning is there for a good reason. Don't complain when you restore RTM for an SP2 installation and Exchange won't start.

Oz Casey Dedeal said...

Thanks for the feedback. Changing AD attribute allows to get around with good reason for another good reason (-: ,
that is all it is said in the article. I was not complaining why the existing “SerialNumber” attribute has version , compare the CD is being used, obviously it will if the CD is being used for /RecoverServer does not have the same version number as the failed server. ( the Attribute value)
Since the Existed Exchange server was not gracefully taken out from out from existing SMTP org and AD still thinks it is there with Its existed version number, If the CD is being used had same version number the problem simply would not exist.
The article allows those who used CD came with SP1 and upgraded SP1 to SP2 down the road and trying to run /RecoverServer with original CD, it is clear to me the version numbers won’t be the same, but imagine you are in that situation and what would be next?
I still think using /RecoverServer switch should take care of this issue transparent and give user warning at the end of successful recovery the server should be bring to same version number as it was before.

Data Recovery said...

Are you facing fatal errors while accessing your Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 database? Is your EDB (Exchange Database) file is inaccessible? The fatal error in server aborts the application and thus makes it unusable. This behavior of MS Exchange Server renders all your valuable data inaccessible and cause critical data loss situations. In order to get your precious data recovered in such situations, you need to repair and restore the damaged EDB file, using an EDB Recovery solutions.

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Anonymous said...

Hi OZ,

It should be worth noting that this method is for when you have no backup. For many organizations the full system backup/restore will be the simplest choice.

Things like SSL cert are missing.
If this is a HUB server then you have queue db and log files etc that need to be restored from backup.

But you could use this method as a hybrid approach to recovery.

Exchange Database Recovery said...

Main Cause of data loss fetal errors in Exchange Server, EDB file is not open so try to Exchange Database Recovery tool for recovery of edb file from exchange database.

Sean Werner said...


I am Sean Werner, working as an Exchange Server administrator. Recently, I have faced the server failure problem in my organization due to the hardware failure. After reading various articles, available online, I could not fixed the issue. Then, I used a third party tool and successfully recovered & restored my failed Server completely. If you are also experiencing such problem, you may also try this program:
Hope it will work for you !


Aaren Chris said...

Wow well done. You have given very good technique for Exchange Server Recovery. This all works as a remedy when you get entangled in errors and your database is out of your reach. But when your EDB file is highly damaged then you can try Stellar Phoenix Exchange Server Recovery utility that is compatible with all versions and works in efficient way.

Anonymous said...

Well, I was able to fix the problem with the help of Microsoft. Make sure you install all the Exchange Server prerequisites for your Windows Server version in order to run recover server. You need service pack 2 or service pack 3, whichever you have installed on your Exchange Server.

1. Download the appropriate service pack that is currently installed on your Exchange server
2. Extract the service pack to an easy to find location
3. Once all files are extracted open the location
4. You'll see as part of all files extracted. That's the you'll need to run
5. Now you can run /m:recoverserver from the extracted service pack location via command prompt
6. Now you are done. If you have a SSL Certificate you'll need to export it off the old server or request a new cert.

Good luck and hope this helps.

Bakersfield, CA

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Evelyn Smock said...

Microsoft provides some free utilities, named as Eseutil.exe, Exmerge.exe and Export-Mailbox. These tools convert EDB to PST and extract the user mailboxes in .PST file format. However in case of severely corruption, these tools may fails. The best way to handle this situation is using some advanced third party EDB to PST Converter software. You can use free trial version for extracting edb mailboxes.

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Tom Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Unknown said...

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johncarter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.