>I have an NT4 machine running Exchange 5.5. The server crashed and I
>couldn't get into NT because it would crash. I tried everything I could
>get back in as the server was holding all our mail. I ended up
>NT4 which allowed me to get back into NT4. It obviously created a new
>registry so the previous install of Exchange was missing from the
>I still have the two 'exchsrvr' directories on my two drives but when I
>to install Exchange again, it doesn't pick up on a previous version
>installed. Is there anyway I can recover the existing mailboxes and
>configuration from these existing directories?
>Would really appreciate any advice as I'm not going to be popular if I
Well, the obvious first thing to do is to make an off-line backup of
the old Exchange databases, checkpoint and log files and the MTA
database. That would be every directory named DSADATA, MDBDATA and
N.B. In the instructions that follow, please note the use of MOVE and
COPY -- they are DIFFERENT operations! Don't COPY when I say MOVE and
don't MOVE when I say COPY!
Once that's done, _remove_ the version of Exchange you just installed
and then switch to the OLD version's drive (I'll explain later). Then
MOVE the contents of each DSADATA, MDBDATA and MTADATA directory to
another set of directories (keep them in separate directories, though
-- don't try putting them all in a single directory).
Now, with the old databases safely on tape and on disk, you can remove
the old version of Exchange from the disk.
Next, install Exchange into its OLD location (the drive letter is
important!). Then reinstall and configure each connector. Then install
the exact set of Service Pack and any hot fixes you may have installed
on the old installation. Then STOP all the Exchange services.
At this point you have a functioning Exchange server. What we do next
makes it think it's the OLD server.
Create a new set of directories to receive the existing contents of
the DSADATA, MDBDATA and MTADATA directories. Then MOVE the contents
of the NEW installation to their new home. When your done the
exchsrvr\dsadata, exchsrvr\mdbdata and exchsrve\mtadata directories
will be EMPTY.
Now, COPY the contents of the OLD server (the data you saved before
you destroyed the old servers directories) back to their original
Start the System Attendant service. Then start the Directory Service.
If it starts you're almost home!
Then start the Information Store service. If IT starts, continue with
the MTA service. If that starts without error you can start any other
services (IMS, etc.).
MAKE AN IMMEDIATE "NORMAL" ON-LINE BACKUP OF THE EXCHANGE SERVER!
Now, the reason I told you to remove the version of Exchange you
installed on another drive is that the log files that record the
database transactions are "branded" with the location of the database
to which those transactions apply. If you move the server to another
location you must abandon those log files (UNLESS they were restored
from an Exchange aware backup program) and any uncommitted
transactions they contain. This can cause the loss of messages and
changes to the directory.
If the MTA service won't start you can abandon any messages its
database held. Just DELETE the contents of the MTADATA directory and
COPY the contents of the MTADATA directory you saved immediately after
installing the server back to the exchsrvr\mtadata directory. Then
restart the service.
If you encounter errors restarting the DS or the IS they may be due to
the damage caused by the server crash. If all the log files and
checkpoint files are intact they should be recoverable errors. But, to
try and cover ALL the possible problems would simply take way too much
time. TechNet has most of the information you need to recover from the
most common failures.