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Activate database copy failed content index disabled

Activate the database copy on another Exchange Server. After activating the database copy, you get an error that the database copy action failed. Why do you want to activate the database copy in the first place? For example, you want to restart the Exchange Server for Windows Updates. First, you need to put the Exchange Server in maintenance mode. Then you move the databases to another Exchange Server. Confirm that there are no active databases on the Exchange Server. Now you can upgrade and restart the Exchange Server.

Active database copy options

You can activate the database copy on the Exchange Server with the following two options:

  1. Exchange Admin Center (EAC)
  2. Exchange Management Shell (EMS)

Activate database copy with EAC

Open Exchange Admin Center (EAC) and log in with your credentials. In the feature pane, click on servers and then select databases in the tabs. Select the database copy that you want to activate in the list view. Under the database copies, in the details pane, click Activate under the database copy you wish to activate. A warning prompt will show up if you want to activate the database copy on the selected server. Click Yes to activate the database copy.

It should activate the database copy on the selected Exchange Server. This time you are getting an error.

Activate database copy action failed content index disabled error

An Active Manager operation failed. Error: The database action failed. Error: An error occurred while trying to validate the specified database copy for possible activation. Error: EX01: Database copy ‘DB9-2016’ on server ‘EX01’ has content index catalog files in the following state: ‘Disabled’. If you need to activate this database copy, you can use the Move-ActiveMailboxDatabase cmdlet with the -SkipClientExperienceChecks parameter to forcibly activate the database. [Database: DB9-2016, Server: EX01.exoip.local]

Now that we have seen the error in EAC. Let’s try to do the same using PowerShell.

Activate database copy with PowerShell

Run Exchange Management Shell as administrator. Run the cmdlet to activate the database copy DB9-2016 on Exchange Server EX01.

Activate database copy failed. You are getting an error.

Why are you getting error database copy activation failed?

Get the indexing status of the mailbox databases.

The column ContentIndexState shows that the particular mailbox database is Disabled. You may have disabled the search indexing on the database. Enable indexing on the database and activate the database copy on the Exchange Server.

If you want to keep the index disabled and still like to activate the database copy, that is possible. Continue reading below on how to activate database copy.

Activate database copy with -SkipClientExperienceChecks parameter

With the -SkipClientExperienceChecks parameter, you can force activate the database copy. Check on which Exchange Server the mailbox database is activated. List all the mailbox databases.

Only check the mailbox database DB9-2016 activation preference. DB9-2016 is active on the Exchange Server EX02.

Move database DB9-2016 from Exchange Server EX02 to Exchange Server EX01. Confirm with A and press Enter.

Verify if the move went successful and if the database DB9-2016 is on the EX01 Exchange Server.

Only check the particular mailbox database.

The mailbox database activation is successfully moved.

Keep reading: Repair failed content index in Exchange »


In this article, we talked about how to activate database copy action failed. You learned why you are getting the database copy action failed error. Remember to check the indexing on the databases.

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ALI TAJRAN is a passionate IT Architect, IT Consultant, and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He started Information Technology at a very young age, and his goal is to teach and inspire others. Connect with ALI TAJRAN on social media. Read more »

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