Manually uninstalling Exchange server 2010 from a computer

You must have been ran into the situation where you are uninstalling Exchange server 2010 from the server using control panel or Exchange Management Shell (EMS) but you are getting errors and even after trying hours and hours to fix it but you are not able to uninstall the server. You can remove the server manually.

Consider before removing the Exchange 2010 manually:
A: Is the server the OAB Generation Server?
B: Is it the host for any connectors or subscriptions to Edge servers?
C: Are there any public folders that need to be re-homed to other servers?
D: System state backup did not completed successfully today?
If any of these are YES than you should take care of it before you start uninstalling the server.

By following the below steps you can remove the exchange server manually from the computer/server.
1: Take the flat file copy of database.EDB file in case you want to mount the database on some other server.
2: Stop and disable all the below exchange services. Click on Start...>Click on Run...>Type Services.msc

Exchange Services
Note: In your case you might see lots of other services depending on the number of exchange server roles you have installed.
3: Remove all exchange registry from the server from the below location
Note: Take registry backup before deleting it. It's always a best practice.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchange*

Exchange Server Registry keys
Note: In your case you might see more or less registry keys depends on number of Exchange Server Roles you have installed on the server.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\ExchangeServer

4: Open windows explorer and go to the location C:\Program Files\Microsoft\ExchangeServer\V14\bin, delete the bin folder. Bin folder contains all the binary files of exchange server.
If you are getting Access error message or File is locked/used by other program, than you rename ExchangeServerfolder to ExchangeServer_OLD. After renaming the folder delete the ExchangeServer_OLD folder.
5: Go to Adsiedit.msc...>Configuration...>Services...>Microsoft Exchange...> Administrative Groups...>ExchangeAdministrativeGroup...>Servers...> here you will find all the exchange 2010 server you have in your environment. Delete the server you are uninstalling.

Note: Follow the above step as mentioned, if you delete something else other than mentioned in the article you will/might break the exchange environment.
6: Restart the exchange server and go to Control Panel...>Programs and Features...>Make sure you don't have Exchange Server Object listed here, but sometime you will see the Exchange Server 2010 listed but the size of the server will be in MB's. I call is shadow of Exchange Server Winking smile
Remove the server from Programs and Features, it will take less than minute to remove the exchange object from Programs and Features.You have successfully uninstalled/removed exchange server 2010 manually Smile
Cheers,

25 Responses to Manually uninstalling Exchange server 2010 from a computer

  1. Sathish says:

    Really usefull Post Gulab.

    I find the following article useful as well.

    How to Manually uninstall Exchange 2010 server

    http://www.itbigbang.com/how-to-manually-uninstall-last-exchange-2010-server-from-organization

    Thanks again,
    Sathish Kumar Elango

  2. Gulab says:

    Hi Sathish,
    Thank you for the feedback. Just trying to help others and myself :)

  3. I had to remove the apps from IIS to make sure it was fully gone, then I could do a clean install again if needed.

  4. Gulab says:

    What do you mean by App from IIS? Do you mean to removing exchange (Instance) from IIS?

  5. Hi Gary, log into IIS Manager, navigate to the Dwfault Web site and delete all of the sites and folde EXCEPT the ASP.net ones. then click on view appliactions under actions on the right hand side.

  6. Hi, Gulab, unfortunately I can not remove the BIN folder by any mentioned solutions:(

  7. Gulab says:

    Hi Zaicescu,
    You will have to restart the server. After restart you should be able to delete the bin folder.

  8. Josh says:

    this is very helpful. Thanks!

  9. Gulab says:

    Thanks for the comment Josh.

  10. thanks for this!! It helped so much since we were migrating from 2010 to 2013, and it was a royal bear to "properly uninstall" Exchange 2010.

    Three things I want to add:
    1. Close all Exchange tools, including Exchange Management Shell. This is step .5 in the instructions. :)
    2. Stop the w3svc (Worldwide Web Publishing) and the Microsoft Search (Exchange) services. This will help allow for the BIN folder to be deleted without errors.
    3. After Step 6, a step 7 would be to do what Maurice suggested, namely, going into IIS Manager and Deleting all Exchange-related sites, such as OAB, OWA, etc, and then find the associated Application Pools and remove them too.

    Thanks for the article! What a great help it was!!

    --Gene.

  11. I am glade it helped.
    Thanks for the feedback

  12. Hi, We have Exchange 2010 in our environment and its the only server. I want to remove it completely as we have migrated the mailboxes over to a hosted service. I followed the guide and was finally able to get Exchange removed after several iterations of doing things.

    This was our first and last Exch server, is there a way to completely clean it from AD? The only roles I wasn't able to uninstall were Mailbox, Hub Transport roles uninstalled fine.

    Or will it be "gracefully" removed now since I cleared the server in ADSI. All mailboxes were disabled and marked deleted for retention prior to uninstall.

  13. Hi Daniel,

    Once the information is removed from Active Directory you should be able to remove the Exchange from the local server. Try remove the server from Control Panel----> Programs and Features and Select Exchange 2010 and Uninstall.

    Let me know if run into any issue.

  14. Unknown says:

    Hi Gulub, great article. Do you know if the proxy addresses and mail attributes remain intact once you remove your last exchange 2010 server from your organization? We have fully migrated to google apps now and I have exported using PS all mail and proxy addresses info for all users/groups/contacts, disabled every mailbox/group/contact, imported all these fields back into AD and everything looks good. The last step I need to complete is removing the last exchange 2010 server but I am a little concerned that the proxy addresses attribute will get uninstalled in the process and will not appear in the attribute editor tab of ADUC. Please tell me I am being paranoid. Thank you.

  15. Hi Unknown,

    Once you uninstall last Exchange 2010 Server, no exchange attributes will be available in the environment. After removing the last server, if you check Attribute Editor tab you won't find any attribute related to Exchange. Example if you disable the Mailbox and if the retention period is passed, all the attributes will be removed from the account. Hence once exchange has been removed, all the attributes will also be removed.

  16. Hi Gulab, its me again unknown, I was under the impression that when I removed my last Exchange server that it left the proxy addresses attribute there. We use Google apps sync tool to sync mail and proxy addresses AD attributes up to google when we create new accounts and we use the proxy addresses attribute to add our email aliases for these accounts. Can I please ask you have you actually seen this for yourself that the proxy addresses attribute disappears from the attribute editor tab in ADUC after the last exchange 2010 server is uninstalled? This would be bad if this happens. If it does get removed how would I put it back? Or do I just have to bite the bullet and keep one Exchange 2010 server in our environment in order to retain the proxy address attribute in AD? Thank you for your time.

  17. Unfortunately I do not have a test domain and exchange 2010 server to do this on first.

  18. Hi Bruce,

    So the answer to your question is, NO, proxyaddresses attribute won't get deleted or removed after you removed your last exchange server in the environment. ProxyAddresses is not a native property of Exchange, but it's Windows/AD property. I can send you the screenshot as the attribute is still there even when exchange server is not installed in the domain ever. So you should't worry about it and go ahead with your planned commissioned project.

  19. Thanks Gulub, I decided to setup a test domain with Exchange 2010 on it and yes, I can confirm that the proxy addresses attribute remains once Exchange is uninstalled. Thank you for your time.

  20. Gulab, one more thing please, you have been very helpful so far, when trying to remove the last exchange server I am having difficulty removing the last mailbox DB has it has arbitration mailboxes on it, I have removed 1 but I'm still left with 2, how do I get rid of them? Every PS command I've tried fails, I guess I can remove it in ADSI edit is that the only way if all else has fails? Thanks.

  21. Hi Bruce,

    You can simply remove the Mailbox Database from Adsiedit which is holding the System Mailbox and continue uninstall process. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

  22. Gulab, Exchange 2010 is now completely gone, I was able to disable the last 2 arbitration mailboxes and then remove the last DB using PS. Again thank you for your assistance with this.

  23. Hi Bruce,

    Good to hear that you completed the decommission :)

  24. John Sno says:

    Thanks for the feed, it worked. I had to use unlocker to remove the bin after restart, but for the rest everything went easily. Again thanks, it has been a great help and I have bookmarked the site.

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