Words of Wisdom (or Warning)

Last week I was at a customer to carry out an Exchange server upgrade. This customer was still running Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2 across three servers as they hadn’t been patched since their installation.

The nice thing about Exchange 2010 SP2 is that Microsoft supply a script that allows someone like myself to isolate an individual server for upgrades. Since I was having to perform both an upgrade to Service Pack 3 and an Update to Rollup 16, this was going to involve several reboots.

What I wasn’t anticipating was the differences in their configurations that meant that what worked on one server, didn’t necessarily work on the others. So the list below is my recommendations for anyone dealing with upgrades like this:

  • Run the Command Prompt, PowerShell and Exchange Management Shell as Administrator; even if the account you are logged in as has Domain Admins and Organization Management privileges. It will save time and effort.
  • Make sure that you stop any services that may conflict with Exchange services being stopped. In my case, this was the BackUp Exec Remote Agent, the SCCM Agent and Sophos PureMessage.
  • When using the Start-DagMaintenance script, use Move-ActiveMailboxDatabase to migrate the databases off to a free server. The Microsoft script will move the databases for you but based on Activation Preference which you may not want.

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