I have a main server running Windows 2008 R2 setup as a domain controller, dhcp server and dns server, on it stupidly I have running Exchange 2010 (I did this because the budget would only let me get one server). A year later I was able to get a second server that is also running Windows 2008 R2 setup also as a domain controller, and dns server.

This morning the main server had some error with vss shadow copy reader starting, immediately after that Exchange could no longer find the active directory, and all email services stopped working. I have found that if I stop and start the active directory service, and then manually start all of the exchange services I can get it running again, but on a reboot it is back being foobarred.

I am primarily a web developer who does server management on the side (i.e. I have a lot of holes in my knowledge) What are some things I can try to fix this problem?

Ok I found that the netlogin service isn't starting, but when I start it manually, that's when I can start all the other services mentioned above.

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    This isn't really helpful to you, but this is why Microsoft say you should never install Exchange on a Domain Controller. There's too much that could potentially go wrong that it's not worth anyone's time to troubleshoot it, because the root cause is most likely the fact that Exchange is running on a DC. If at all possible, install Exchange onto another box and migrate data. – Ben Pilbrow Oct 4 '11 at 23:41
  • Have you tried doing a dcdiag on both servers now that you have manually working? – tegbains Oct 5 '11 at 0:09
  • I plan on moving exchange to another box as soon as I can. – Solmead Oct 5 '11 at 1:50
  • Doing the dcdiag on both servers now. – Solmead Oct 5 '11 at 1:50
  • Ok the issue is that the Server Service hangs on start, so netlogon fails to start, and everything starts failing after that. – Solmead Oct 13 '11 at 14:03

Is the DC/Exchange device configured to use the second DC as an alternate DNS server?

Sounds like AD services are having a hard time starting up, which may be due to a less-than-ideal DNS situation.

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  • Thought I had, but apparently I hadn't – Solmead Oct 5 '11 at 1:52

set up the exchange services to start up delayed. It cures 99% of this type of problem.

The other thing which will help is if serverA uses ServerB as its dns server + and serverB uses ServerA as its dns server + ... assuming that ServerB is also a DC.

edit: To change the service to delayed setup just open services.msc and click on the properties of each of the services which have exchange in their name. Change the 'Automatic' to 'Automatic (delayed startup)'

This has the downside of meaning that exchange will not be completely available for 10-15 minutes after a reboot - but it is more reliable on a DC.

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  • How would I set it up to start delayed? – Solmead Oct 5 '11 at 15:54
  • I've edited my answer – Ian Murphy Oct 5 '11 at 21:41
  • What shane says above is likely true. The source of a much of the basic DC and AD problems have dns problems as a cause. Its always better to have two, and its always better to have each using the other as its primary dns server. – Ian Murphy Oct 5 '11 at 21:43

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