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I've replaced Exchange 2007 with Google Apps, but now am facing the obtuse Exchange removal process. It seems that I need to go in and tear everything out manually (to uninstall I have to first remove the databases, to remove the database I have to first delete the mailboxes, shared address books, shared folders, etc) before uninstalling Exchange from the server, then I still have more work to do to clean Exchange out of AD.

This seems silly. Aside from general good hygiene, is there a compelling reason to uninstall Exchange properly rather than just wiping and repurposing the hardware?

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If you ever need to install Exchange in the future, that left over cruft will make installing a new Exchange server very painful. –  Zoredache Oct 31 '11 at 22:32
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Zoredache is right - Unless you know for sure that in the future, Exchange is not a possibility, then don't worry about it. I personally like to swing all my domains over to new hardware once a year, making sure clean installs, and clean domains are everywhere, just to avoid getting smacked in the face by some unknown AD update that had been done by some freshman techie and not documented /rantover! –  Mister IT Guru Nov 10 '11 at 14:49
    
Why are these comments instead of answers? I'd choose one of these if I could... –  sh-beta Nov 10 '11 at 15:50

3 Answers 3

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I would personally take an image of the server to have a bootable copy just in case you need something at a later point then wipe it. Alternatively, take the drive out and store it somewhere, toss in another drive and enjoy a guiltless fresh installation.

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In 2 years time when you've moved on to better things maybe, and no one either knows or can remember the details of what you've done now and where you left it at, someone's going to be really glad you finished the job properly and tidied up your AD and stopped them getting totally bizarre errors.

It's the professional thing to do, so its the smart thing to do.

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I would disable the services and leave everything else in place. Disabling the services should prevent any issues you might have with spammers using your exchange server to relay, and would leave your Exchange infrastructure in place should the need to revert arise.

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