I need to get rid of two old "exchange" servers that are lingering around. When I start my Exchange Management Console I receive a message, "The following servers in your organization are currently unlicensed. If you have a product key, select the Enter Product Key action on..." - These two servers no longer exist. They were part of a Server 2008 Hyper-V Virtualization test and have since been deleted. - AutoDiscover works sometimes. Sometimes it "discovers" the correct email exchange server. Sometimes it "discovers" one of the two old non-existant virtual server's exchange server. - I am running Exchange Server 2007 SP2 on Server 2003 x64 SP2.

How can I get rid of these two "ghost" servers? Are they stored in Active Directory? DNS? Where are these settings so that I can remove them?

  • How did you "delete" the 2 servers? Did you just shut them down or did you uninstall Exchange from them? – Kevin Garber Nov 19 '09 at 16:17
  • They were just virtual servers and they were just deleted. No uninstall was performed on the machines prior to their deletion. That would have been the proper way to go to remove their "hooks" in AD... correct? – Pat Kolysher Nov 19 '09 at 19:42

Very carefully!

When an Exchange Server is retired there are specific steps to removing it, the server shouldn't just be turned off. If that has happened and it can't be brought back online then the steps to resolve it would be the same as a DR recovery situation. Check MS TechNet for DR steps for more explanation. Strongly consider calling MS PSS if this is a live production server.
Exchange 2003 DR Operations Guide
Exchange 2007 DR Operation Guide

The server info is stored in AD. If you want to proceed make system state backups or images of the Exchange server and all DCs. Also create 2 full exchange backups, store them in separate locations and make sure you have the install media. If this is done incorrectly it can destroy the existing Exchange server in AD.

You can remove them using ADSIEdit using the following instructions:
The same principle applies to Exchange 2007.

There can be many more steps involved depending how the Exchange Org was setup. Left over or broken connectors, PF & GAB replication and mail routing issues are some of the problems that can remain.

Confirm that the DNS record for AutoDiscover.domain.com points to the correct IP / CNAME for the remaining server. Remove all A / CNAME records for the old servers.

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I was able to remove the two old non existent servers with ADSIedit. Guided by the Microsoft Help Support team, I was able to do a million checks before doing this. The main point of why I was successful in doing this is because when the servers were created, they were never used. There were no users created, nothing. The two servers were created by someone other than me with the hopes of restoring to these virtual servers with exchange server on them. They never got that far so it was removed pretty easily via ADSIedit.

Cost me $300 bucks but I am a happy camper now! Thanks guys/gals!

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