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Uninstall Exchange Server 2010 step by step

How to uninstall Exchange Server 2010? That’s the question that you are asking yourself. After you have migrated to a new Exchange Server, you like to decommission Exchange Server 2010. That’s good because Exchange 2010 end of life support is coming. In this article, you will learn how to uninstall Exchange Server 2010 step by step.

Uninstall Exchange Server 2010 HUB Transport/Client Access role

Remove send connectors

Start Exchange Management Console. Expand Microsoft Exchange On-Premises>Organization Configuration>Hub transport. Click the tab Send Connectors. Remove the connectors on the list. It should be empty.

Note: Suppose you have another Exchange Server running in the organization (coexistence), then do not delete the send connector. That’s because the send connector is applied organization-wide.

Uninstall Exchange Server

Before you start, close Exchange Management Console and other applications running. We can finally uninstall/decommission Exchange Server 2010. Go to Control Panel>Uninstall a program. Click Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 from the list of programs. Click Uninstall.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 uninstall control panel

Exchange Server 2010 Setup will start. Click Next.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 Exchange Maintenance Mode

Clear the checkboxes for the server roles. These are the Clients Access role, Hub Transport role, and Management Tools. Click Next.

It will perform Readiness Checks. It will check the system and server to verify that the server roles are ready to be removed. After it completes, click Uninstall.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 Readiness Checks HUB and CA

The removal is in progress.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 HUB and CA Progress

It can take time. In this example, it took 27 minutes for the Client Access Role to uninstall. Make sure that the completion screen show completed. If not, view the setup logs and start troubleshooting. The removal of the Hub Transport Role and Client Access Role is complete. Click Finish.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 HUB and CA completion

Do the same steps on the other Exchange Server. Remove the Hub Transport Role and Client Access Role.

Uninstall Exchange Server 2010 Mailbox role

In the following steps, we will remove the mailbox role. The organization has a DAG configured. The mailbox servers can be uninstalled when they no longer host mailboxes or public folders. If they are not members of the DAGs and the Offline Address Books are not in use.

Remove Address Book Policies

Start Exchange Management Console. Expand Microsoft Exchange On-Premises>Organization Configuration>Mailbox.

Click the tab Address Book Policies.

If you have any Address Book Policies, remove them.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 remove address book policies

There should be no items to show in this view, as shown below.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 remove address book policies empty

Remove Default Offline Address Book

Click the tab Offline Address Book. Delete the Default Offline Address Book (Exchange 2010). You can see that the Generation Server will list the Exchange Server 2010. The Default OAB will have the status False. If you already have a new Exchange Server in the organization, you see that Address Book too.

In this organization, there are two mailbox servers. Remove both of the Default Offline Address Book. Right-click the Default Offline Address Book and click Remove.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 remove offline address book

The first Default Offline Address Book is removed. Now let’s remove the second Default Offline Address Book.

The Default Offline Address Book are both removed. Keep the Default Offline Address Book (Ex2013). This is your Exchange 2013 or higher Offline Address Book. If you don’t have a new Exchange Server installed, you will not see any default Offline Address Book. The screen will be empty.

The next step is to remove the mailbox databases.

Remove passive database copies

Start Exchange Management Console. Expand Microsoft Exchange On-Premises>Server Configuration>Mailbox.

The passive copies will show Healthy under the Database copies column. Right-click each passive copy and select Remove from the context menu. You will get a warning prompt if you are sure to remove the database. Click Yes. A second warning prompt will appear that the copy of the mailbox database on the server has been removed. Click OK.

Note: Active copies will display as Mounted. You won’t have an option to remove these.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 remove database copies

Repeat for all the other databases. All passive database copies are removed.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 mailbox database removed results

In the next step, we will remove the servers from DAG Membership.

Remove the servers from DAG Membership

Start Exchange Management Console. Expand Microsoft Exchange On-Premises>Organization Configuration>Mailbox.

Click the tab Database Availability Groups. You will find your DAG name. In this organization, it’s DAG1. Right-click and click Manage Database Availability Group Membership…

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 manage DAG

Select the servers in the list and click the X to remove the member from the database availability group.

Servers are removed from the list. Click the Manage button to start the removal process.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 DAG remove servers confirm

It starts the Exchange servers removal process from the DAG Membership. Give it a couple of minutes.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 DAG remove servers completion

The Exchange Servers are successfully removed from the Database Availability Group Membership. Click the Finish button to exit.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 DAG remove servers finish

In the next step, we will remove the active databases.

Remove databases

Now let’s remove the active (mounted) databases.

Let’s remove the active databases with PowerShell.

Run Exchange Management Console. Run the Get-MailboxDatabase cmdlet to list the databases.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase

Name         Server    Recovery       ReplicationType
----         ------    --------       ---------------
DB9          MBX01     False          None
DB1          MXB01     False          None
DB4          MXB01     False          None
DB6          MXB01     False          None
DB12         MXB01     False          None
DB13         MXB01     False          None
DB14         MXB01     False          None
DB15         MXB01     False          None
DB3          MXB01     False          None
DB16         MXB01     False          None
DB17         MXB01     False          None
DB20         MXB01     False          None

Remove the database with the Remove-MailboxDatabase cmdlet.

[PS] C:\>Remove-MailboxDatabase "DB1"

Are you sure you want to perform this action?
Removing mailbox database "DB1".
[Y] Yes  [A] Yes to All  [N] No  [L] No to All  [?] Help <default is "Y">: Y
WARNING: The specified database has been removed. You must remove the database file located in D:\Databases\DB1\DB1.edb from your
computer manually if it exists. Specified database: DB1

Do the same with all the other databases. You can use the syntax -Confirm:$false at the end of the command. It will not prompt you with the message if you are sure to perform this action.

The command will look like this.

[PS] C:\>Remove-MailboxDatabase "DB9" -Confirm:$false

[PS] C:\>Remove-MailboxDatabase "DB4" -Confirm:$false

What if you have a lot of databases on the Exchange Server. Let’s make the process faster. List all the databases on the specific Exchange Server 2010.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase -Server "MBX01"

Name         Server    Recovery       ReplicationType
----         ------    --------       ---------------
DB6          MXB01     False          None
DB12         MXB01     False          None
DB13         MXB01     False          None
DB14         MXB01     False          None
DB15         MXB01     False          None
DB3          MXB01     False          None
DB16         MXB01     False          None
DB17         MXB01     False          None
DB20         MXB01     False          None

Remove all the databases on the server and confirm with A. You can use the syntax -Confirm:$false at the end of the command. It will not prompt you with the message if you are sure to perform this action.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase -Server "MBX01" | Remove-MailboxDatabase

Confirm
Are you sure you want to perform this action?
Removing mailbox database "DB6".
[Y] Yes  [A] Yes to All  [N] No  [L] No to All  [?] Help <default is "Y">: A
WARNING: The specified database has been removed. You must remove the database file located in G:\Databases\DB6\DB6.edb from your
computer manually if it exists. Specified database: DB6
WARNING: The specified database has been removed. You must remove the database file located in G:\Databases\DB12\DB12.edb from your
computer manually if it exists. Specified database: DB12
WARNING: The specified database has been removed. You must remove the database file located in G:\Databases\DB13\DB13.edb from your
computer manually if it exists. Specified database: DB13
WARNING: The specified database has been removed. You must remove the database file located in G:\Databases\DB14\DB14.edb from your
computer manually if it exists. Specified database: DB14
WARNING: The specified database has been removed. You must remove the database file located in H:\Databases\DB15\DB15.edb from your
computer manually if it exists. Specified database: DB15
WARNING: The specified database has been removed. You must remove the database file located in H:\Databases\DB3\DB3.edb from your
computer manually if it exists. Specified database: DB3
WARNING: The specified database has been removed. You must remove the database file located in H:\Databases\DB16\DB16.edb from your
computer manually if it exists. Specified database: DB16
WARNING: The specified database has been removed. You must remove the database file located in D:\Databases\DB17\DB17.edb from your
computer manually if it exists. Specified database: DB17
WARNING: The specified database has been removed. You must remove the database file located in D:\Databases\DB20\DB20.edb from your
computer manually if it exists. Specified database: DB20

All the mailbox databases are removed from the Exchange Server. Verify it in the following place.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 remove database copies completed

In the next step, we will remove the Database Availability Group.

Remove DAG

Right-click the DAG name and click Remove.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 DAG remove

DAG is removed from the Exchange Management Console.

In the next step, we will remove the Public Folders.

Remove Public Folders

Do you have public folders? Remove them first from the Public Folder Management Console.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 toolbox open public folders

After you remove the public folders, delete the public folder database from the Exchange Management Console. Expand Microsoft Exchange On-Premises>Organization Configuration>Mailbox. Select the Database Management tab. Right-click the Public Folders database and click remove. You get a prompt. Click Yes to All and click OK on the second prompt.

The mailbox databases are removed. The public folder is deleted too. Check the following screen. All should be empty.

The last step is to uninstall Exchange Server from the Control Panel.

Uninstall Exchange Server

Before you start, close Exchange Management Console and other applications running. We can finally uninstall/decommission Exchange Server 2010. Go to Control Panel>Uninstall a program. Click Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 from the list of programs. Click Uninstall.

Exchange Server 2010 Setup will start. Click Next.

Clear the checkboxes for the server roles Mailbox Role and Management Tools. Click Next.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 Server Role Selection

It will check the system and server to verify that the server roles are ready to be removed. After it completes, click Uninstall.

The removal is in progress. It can take time. Make sure that the completion screen show completed. If not, view the setup logs and start troubleshooting. The removal of the Mailbox Role is complete. Click Finish.

Uninstall Decommission Exchange Server 2010 Completion

Do the same steps on the other Exchange Server that is holding the Mailbox Role.

Verify uninstall Exchange Server 2010

After uninstalling Exchange Server 2010, you can verify if they are deleted from the organization.

[PS] C:\>Get-ExchangeServer | Select Name, AdminDisplayVersion

Name AdminDisplayVersion
---- -------------------
EX01 Version 15.1 (Build 1847.3)
EX02 Version 15.1 (Build 1847.3)

It will list the Exchange Servers running in the organization. The Exchange Servers 2010 are successfully removed. There are two Exchange Servers 2016 running at the moment in the organization.

Conclusion

You learned how to uninstall Exchange Server 2010. It’s important to follow the steps as described. If you immediately go to the Control Panel and uninstall Exchange Server 2010, you get errors. I hope that this article helped you decommission Exchange 2010 in the organization.

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ALI TAJRAN

ALI TAJRAN

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. Read more »

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Ali,
    I was able to recently uninstall Exchange Server 2010 from our organization, but I see the c:/program files/microsoft/exchange server folder is still present and taking up about 75% of my hard drive space (mainly the mailbox and public database folders). Can I just manually delete that folder at this point? I need that space. I can’t seem to find this issue addressed anywhere.

    A bit of background:
    I inherited this server from our organization’s previous IT provider, who initially set it up. The organization has long ago (years) moved to a non-microsoft email provider, so there was no migration involved at this point and no need to retain the email databases. The machine’s main function at this point is to host a VM used for remote access.
    Any help is appreciated.

  2. Ali,
    I can never get to your first step: Uninstall Exchange Server 2010 HUB Transport. I have an old Exch 2010, not even SP1 and a newer 2010 that is up to date. The idea is to get the newer 2010 up and move right to 2016.
    If I so much as disable the SMTP Connector on “OLD” or remove OLD as a source server on the SMTP Connector “New” I get messages filling the queue on OLD Exchange server.

    Also, what is very odd that on Exchange OLD, in the Queue Viewer, there is a tab for the SMTP Connector New almost as if mail is being routed from from Exch New to Exch Old.

    Any insight is very much appreciated.

  3. I have exchange 2013 – is there anything different? Has anyone used this guide to decom 2013?

    thanks.

  4. Thanks Ali,
    I spent a lot of time trying to remove an old exchange 2010 server.
    Your document was the only one that helped me do that.
    Thanks again for your time and effort on creating this post.

    Jeff

  5. Hi,
    I have trying your guidelines to delete or unninstall mailbox role in exchange 2010 . But still error , still show error : this mailbox database contains one or more mailboxes , mailbox plans, archive mailboxes or arbitration mailboxes ……

    Any suggest about my problem ? Thanks for your help

  6. Hi,
    I try to use Exchange 2010 CAS-HUB server from my organization but I get an error during uninstall CAS role. Such as:
    ############################################
    Summary: 6 item(s). 1 succeeded, 1 failed.
    Elapsed time: 00:00:01
    Preparing Setup
    Completed
    Elapsed Time: 00:00:01
    Client Access Role
    Failed
    Error:
    The following error was generated when “$error.Clear();
    Get-OabVirtualDirectory -Server:$RoleFqdnOrName -DomainController $RoleDomainController| Remove-OabVirtualDirectory -DomainController $RoleDomainController
    ” was run: “Exchange server “SERVERNAME.domain.grp” was not found. Please make sure you typed the name correctly.”
    Exchange server “SERVERNAME.domain.grp” was not found. Please make sure you typed the name correctly.
    Click here for help… http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/library/ms.exch.err.default(EXCHG.141).aspx?v=14.3.470.0&e=ms.exch.err.Ex88D115&l=0&cl=cp
    Elapsed Time: 00:00:00
    ############################################
    When I run Get-OabVirtualDirectory command I get only My Exchange 2016 server.
    And When I run Get-ExchangeServer | Select Name, AdminDisplayVersion command, I get only my Exchange 2016 server.
    What should I do?
    Regards.

  7. Hi Ali,
    great tutorial. Simple and clear.
    But I have a question about your first point: Remove send connectors
    Aren’t the send connectors also required for 2013 / 2016 and apply organization wide. Or do you mean the receive connectors?

    1. Hi Christian,

      That’s correct. Send connectors are applied organization-wide, and you should not delete them from the Exchange Server 2010 if you have another Exchange Server running (coexistence). You should skip that step. I updated the article.

  8. Hi Ali,
    I am trying to uninstall exchange 2010 std in our test lab prior to doing it on our Production setup. All the roles are on one server. I cant seem to get past go with it. I have disabled all the mailboxes. I uncheck all the roles and click uninstall. it gives a error almost immediately saying for all the databases: uninstall cannot continue. Database ‘Dev_Albion_Std’: This mailbox database contains one or more mailboxes, mailbox plans, archive mailboxes, or arbitration mailboxes. Any ideas?

  9. Hi Ali,

    Is this guide written for having the Exchange rolls on different servers? If so, is there a different process for decommissioning an Exchange 2010 server that has all the roles on one server?

    –Tom Wilson

    1. Hi Tom,

      It seems you have a typical Exchange Server 2010, which is the Client Access/Hub Transport/Mailbox roles on a single server.

      Follow the same steps, but skip the parts with database copies and DAG.

  10. Hi Ali,

    Is it necessary to decommission CAS roles first or can we decommission Mailbox roles first and then CAS?

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