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Understanding Setup /M:RecoverServer

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 will reach end of support on April 11, 2017. To stay supported, you will need to upgrade. For more information, see Resources to help you upgrade your Office 2007 servers and clients.


Applies to: Exchange Server 2007 SP1, Exchange Server 2007 SP2, Exchange Server 2007 SP3

One of the tools available for server recovery in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 is the Setup /m:RecoverServer switch. Running Setup /m:RecoverServer on a server tells Setup to read the configuration information from the Active Directory directory service for a server the same name as the server from which you are running Setup. The Exchange files and services are then installed on the server, and the roles and settings that were stored in Active Directory are then applied to the server.


If you plan to use the Setup /m:RecoverServer switch, be aware of the following:

  • Setup /m:RecoverServer is intended for recovery only. Do not use it as a repair tool, to recover from a failed install, to recover from a failed uninstall, or to reconfigure a server. It is intended only for recovering a server that was once fully functional, or to move a server to new hardware and maintain the same name.

  • Setup /m:RecoverServer cannot be used across operating systems. A server that was originally running Windows Server 2003 can be recovered only in Windows Server 2003, and a server that was originally running Windows Server 2008 can be recovered only in Windows Server 2008.

  • If Exchange is installed in a location other than the default location, use the /TargetDir switch to specify the location of the Exchange binary files. If you do not use the /TargetDir switch, specify the following default location, depending on your version of Exchange:

    • Exchange Server 2010

      %programfiles%\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14

    • Exchange Server 2007

      %programfiles%\Microsoft\Exchange Server

    To determine the installation location, follow these steps:

    1. Open ADSIEDIT.MSC or LDP.EXE.

    2. Navigate to the following location:

      CN=ExServerName,CN=Servers,CN=First Administrative Group,CN=Administrative Groups,CN=ExOrg Name,CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=DomainName,CN=Com

    3. Right-click the Exchange server object, and then click Properties.

    4. Locate the msExchInstallPath attribute. This attribute stores the current installation path.

When You Should Run Setup /m:RecoverServer

There are several situations in which the /m:RecoverServer switch can be of help to the Exchange administrator. Some of these situations are as follows:

  • When your server is no longer available, and you must prepare a new or existing computer to replace the failed Exchange server. This could occur when:

    • Your hardware has failed.

    • You are performing a dial-tone recovery and Active Directory is intact.

    • You are performing a site recovery and Active Directory is intact.

  • When you migrate a Client Access server, a Hub Transport server, a Unified Messaging server, or a Mailbox server to new hardware.


    Setup /m:RecoverServer will only migrate setting information stored in Active Directory. Any local customizations or databases are not migrated with this method. For information about where Exchange stores data outside of Active Directory, see What Needs to Be Protected in an Exchange Environment.


    If the virtual directories in Internet Information Services (IIS) have been modified, there are additional steps to migrate a Client Access server to new hardware. For more information about what needs to be backed up on a Client Access server, see Client Access Server Data.

When You Should Not Run Setup /m:RecoverServer

There are situations in which it is not possible, or not a good idea, to run Setup /m:RecoverServer. Some of these situations are as follows:

  • The Edge Transport server is not a supported role for the /m:RecoverServer switch. The Edge Transport server does not use Active Directory, so there is no setting information to be applied to the server from Active Directory. Instead of running /m:RecoverServer, you can install a new Edge Transport server and restore settings from backup.


    The Edge Transport server includes a backup and recovery script to capture Edge Transport server configuration data. For more information about this script, see Using Cloned Configuration Tasks for Edge Transport Server Disaster Recovery.

  • When the server information is no longer in Active Directory. If the server object is missing from Active Directory, there is no information that can be applied to the server.

  • When a server that has the same name as the server that you are trying to recover still exists on the network.

  • To repair a failed installation. The Setup /m:RecoverServer option assumes a consistent configuration in Active Directory for the server. If Setup failed, the information in Active Directory might not have been fully written. In this situation, you should run Setup again.

  • To change the availability configuration of your Mailbox server. You cannot run /m:RecoverServer to convert any of the following:

    • A non-clustered Mailbox server to a clustered mailbox server, or vice versa.

    • A single copy cluster to a cluster continuous replication Mailbox server or to a non-clustered Mailbox server, or vice versa.

What to Do After Setup /m:RecoverServer Has Completed

Setup /m:RecoverServer restores the Exchange server configuration data from Active Directory, copies the Exchange files to the server, and sets default settings when alternative settings are not found in Active Directory. It does not restore customized settings that were stored on the server or end-user data stored in the Exchange databases on the server.

Each server role requires different post-recovery steps to bring it into a pre-recovery state. For a detailed list of items that must be restored per server role, see What Needs to Be Protected in an Exchange Environment and read the topics that apply to each server role. In general, the following items must be restored:

  • The mailbox and public folder databases on a Mailbox server. If the public folders on the server are all replicated on another server, you could create a new empty public folder database and backfill it from other replicas.

  • Unified Messaging prompts and custom audio files on a Unified Messaging server, if the server was the prompt publishing point for a dial plan. Otherwise, the files are restored from the prompt publishing point server.

  • If the database is not restored, and a dial tone database is used, Unified Messaging users will require that the following be done:

    • A new personal identification number (PIN) must be issued.

    • A new greeting must be recorded.


      The audio recording of the user's name is stored in Active Directory. As long as Active Directory is intact, the recorded name will remain there.

  • Any custom Office Outlook Web Access files or virtual directories on a Client Access server must be re-created.

  • After you recover a Hub Transport server, there may be additional steps to perform, such as the following:

    • Restoring a saved queue database

    • Enabling agents

    • Configuring send connectors

    If you are performing one or more of these tasks, the Hub Transport server should be stopped after a server recovery by default. Otherwise, the Hub Transport server will start at a point in which settings and agents are in a backed-up state. The backed-up state might not represent what you had configured on the server immediately before the issue occurred that required the restore process. Also, if you are restoring a saved queued database, you must put the database into the correct folder when the transport service is stopped. We recommend that you use the /DoNotStartTransport switch when you restore a Hub Transport server. The syntax for the command is as follows:

    Setup /m:RecoverServer /DoNotStartTransport
  • Any custom registry settings that were configured on the servers must be reconfigured.

For More Information

For more information about how to work with the queue database, see Working with the Queue Database on Transport Servers.