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Our Exchange server is having a lot of issues. It can't get Windows Updates anymore (error 8000FFFF) and it has a lot of other issues that are all related (Server Manager error - Catastrophic failure exception hresult 8000FFFF). Everything I've read online about it says you pretty much have to re-install Windows to fix it.

Because of that, we are going to migrate to a new server running Exchange 2010. I have the new server ready and I was doing the pre-requisite checker and it was complaining that the Exchange 2007 installation wasn't SP2 or newer. I checked and indeed, it is SP1. So I am trying to upgrade the Exchange 2007 installation to SP3, however, it is failing. It is hanging on "Removing Exchange files." I followed these instructions and it's still not working. I can get to the part where you run the upgrade from command line but it starts asking for the exchangeserver.msi file. I point it to where it is located but it keeps asking for it. I am starting to get concerned that I can't upgrade the Exchange server because of the same issues above.

My next step is to call Microsoft about the issue because I need to get it fixed however I wanted to check here first.

share|improve this question
Have you tried installing SP2 instead of SP3? – JMeterX Aug 28 '12 at 19:50
I haven't. I will give it a try but I have a feeling it won't work either. – Keith Aug 28 '12 at 19:52
@HopelessN00b That is exactly what I'm trying to do. I can't get the server to upgrade to SP3. I'm going to try to upgrade to SP2 and see if it works – Keith Aug 28 '12 at 19:53
@HopelessN00b I was thinking about doing that but I'm not sure it would work. The error I get on the 2010 server is "Coexistence between Exchange 2010 and versions older than 2007 SP2 in the same active directory site is not supported." Do you think that means all of the Exchange 2007 servers have to be at least SP2? – Keith Aug 28 '12 at 20:16
I will give that a shot. Thanks. – Keith Aug 28 '12 at 20:25
up vote 0 down vote accepted

As a workaround to being unable to uninstall remove the Exchange files from the existing machine in order to do any service pack upgrades, I'd suggest the following steps to perform a seemingly in-place migration:

  1. Find a spare machine, or fire up a VM and install the OS.
  2. Join it to your domain and install Exchange 2007, SP2 or 3 on it.
  3. Perform migration or transfer (per your preference) of Exchange data and roles to temporary machine.
  4. Remove old, broken Exchange server from AD. Gracefully if possible, forcibly if necessary.
  5. Wipe the server and install a new OS on it.
  6. Join it to the domain and install Exchange 2010 on it.
  7. Perform migration or transfer (per your preference) of Exchange data and roles from Exchange 2007 on the temporary machine to Exchange 2010 on the rebuilt Server.
  8. Remove Exchange 2007 from AD.
  9. Repurpose or discard temporary machine.
share|improve this answer
@TheCleaner Would if I could, but comments are only editable for 5 mins, and that window's long past. – HopelessN00b Aug 28 '12 at 21:28
Well I got Exchange installed on a new server and upgraded it to SP3. I will begin the migration tomorrow. – Keith Aug 28 '12 at 22:47
@Keith Best o' luck. Given that, I'll nuke my comments to the question, since they're no longer relevant/applicable. – HopelessN00b Aug 28 '12 at 23:56
Well I finally got the bad version to uninstall. It took quite a while but this method worked. I discovered that the exchangeserver.msi file it was looking for is probably the file from whatever version of 2007 is already installed (in my case SP1). I discovered this because during the uninstall, it also called for the file. I tried the disc that I installed from and it didn't work. So I use a Exchange SP1 disc and it worked. – Keith Aug 30 '12 at 21:00

I would suggest a different approach. You might have issues migrating data between Exchange servers. So, I would be suggest to shutdown the databases and bring it to clean state, copy it to some place on the network. Install a new Exchange 2007 server, and mount the databases on it. Check the following links:

share|improve this answer
This would have probably worked too and it might have been much quicker. – Keith Aug 30 '12 at 21:00

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