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Test Machine, Installed Server 2008 X64, installed the backup software I used to backup exchange, catalog the media, extracted the Mailbox database, catalogs, logs into the appropriate locations ( D:\Database and E:\Logs) exactly the same logical partition layout as the original server. (This server is completely separate from the production domain / LAN).

a) Have named this test machine as the original server b) Dcpromo - Installed AD with the same domain name as the production domain

c) Shall I just install Exchange 2007 SP1 now and :

i - Name the Exchange Organization as the original server ii - Create a New Database (First storage group\mailbox databse) (Do Not mount it) iii - "Allow File restore true" (DB properties) iv - Copy the database files (.edb files, log files, and Exchange Search catalog) to the appropriate location.

Q : Is it just the matter of copying and pasting the db's in there original location or can I mount them from a new location too ? Q : DB is in clean shutdown state, would I need log / catalogs ?

Q : How would I get the Active Directory back on this test box ? Can i RESTORE just the active directory onto this new machine ? as When I tried to restore the whole operating system from within windows, it restored fine and when it rebooted, I logged in as the original administrator and it will give me activation error - i have forgotten the exact wording but it was like "windows have discovered some activation problem"

Will look forward to your helpful suggestions

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I've never tried just copying files. Typically you dismount the mailbox and make sure the the checkbox for this database can be overwritten by a restore, then restore the database. Before even installing exchange I would restore AD from backups. You should be able to do a complete bare metal restore. you might get an activation error but that shouldn't prevent functionality (worst case it reboots in a few hours- but you should be able to reactivate before then)

Here is the link to the disaster recovery procedures in technet. The basic exchange 2007 page has additional disaster recovery documentation and webcasts

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