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The Background

I had just finished installing the Hub and CAS role to my Exchange 2007 mailbox server. The not to distant plan is to next safely decommission the existing Exchange 2007 Hub and CAS server. The plan is to then press the hardware into being an Exchange 2010 Hub and CAS server. I already had an Exchange 2010 server that performed the Hub, CAS and Mailbox roles and that had worked well within my very mixed Exchange Organization.

I hadn’t logged into that Exchange 2010 in a month or so. Having checked that my Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007 servers were well, it was time to check on the Exchange 2010 server…

 

Key error messages and symptoms

Error Messages:

Initializing.. Attempting to connect to the specified Exchange server

An error caused a change in the current set of domain controllers. It was running the command ‘Get-….

Symptoms:

Slow to start, or non-starting Exchange Management Console.

Problem

On the Exchange 2010 server, I tried to start the Exchange Management Console (EMC). Where this used to work flawlessly and quickly too, this was taking a long time to start up. Within the EMC, I would see the error:

Initializing.. “Attempting to connect to the specified Exchange server”

 

When I did get manage to get the EMC to somewhat start, patience was the key here, error messages like this (see image below) appeared on-screen.

 

 

This error popped up as I clicked the Organization Configuration section within the left hand pane of the EMC. But I’d get similar errors as I clicked on the Server Configuration and Recipient Configuration sections too.

Resolution

 My first visit was to the Event Viewer where I spotted the error message below:

 

 

 

Recognising that the error mentioned one of my servers, AVONTE, I checked the network connections for this server. It all pinged and trace-routed OK.

Then I checked DNS. I’d noted before that avonte, from the DNS console of another server, wasn’t showing properly. It had the big red x but I wasn’t worried. AVONTE was an elderly Exchange 2003 server and other DNS server were working. And my Exchange 2007 servers were working.

But looking further, I noticed (again) that another server, NIA, was still in DNS. I’d decommissioned NIA a year ago. It seemed to go well, and everything worked well – Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007 were working fine. I wasn’t minded to remove NIA from DNS back then and with hindsight, I should have tidied up sooner.

NIA somehow has the same IP address as AVONTE.

Once I removed NIA from DNS – as well as being an A record, it was still down as a Name Server (NS) – the EMC started flawlessly.

I’ve always extolled the virtues of a clean DNS – having seen an unwell DNS take down Exchange in the past. I must remember to be virtuous in my test lab!

I hope this has been useful for you.

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