Removing Your Last Exchange Server FAQ

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In April, we released an update to the Management tools in Exchange Server 2019 that enables organizations that use Azure AD Connect and sync their Active Directory to manage Exchange recipients without the need for a running Exchange Server.

If you have one or more Exchange servers used only for recipient management, often referred to as last Exchange servers (LES), you can now install the updated tools on a domain-joined machine and shut down your last Exchange server(s). For more information, see Manage recipients in Exchange Server 2019 Hybrid environments.

We want to hear from you and get your feedback on this solution and we prepared a FAQ with questions that we hear most often. Please email your comments, questions, or suggestions to or post comments below!


What are the system requirements for the Exchange Server 2019 Management Tools?
The Exchange Management tools are a lightweight installation and can be installed on any domain-joined Windows machine (see Supportability Matrix for supported operating systems). This can be a domain-joined workstation.

Why can’t we uninstall our last Exchange server?
Uninstalling your last Exchange Server will result in various configuration changes including the Exchange Organization container getting removed from Active Directory, which will make it impossible for our management tools package to manage Exchange attributes. Our recommendation is to shut down the server, and if you wish, repurpose it for something else.

If we run CleanupActiveDirectoryEMT.ps1, will it be possible to install an Exchange server again?
Yes. CleanupActiveDirectoryEMT.ps1 removes security groups, Exchange containers, and system mailboxes so that these can’t be misused by attackers in the event of a compromise. If you need an Exchange server later, you need to Prepare Active Directory and then install Exchange Server 2019. You won’t be able to install older versions of Exchange (only adding Exchange Server 2019 is supported).

We never had an Exchange Server, and all our users are in Exchange Online. We use Active Directory to provision users. Is the new Exchange Server 2019 Management tool package relevant for us? If yes, do we need to install an Exchange server to be supported?
The updated Exchange Management tools are supported in this scenario, and you don’t need to install an Exchange server to use them. If you have not extended your Active Directory Forest, you will need to extend your Active Directory schema, and then you can install the Management tools on a domain joined machine.

Are there any long-term issues from shutting down the last Exchange server?
If you don’t plan to use an Exchange server in the future, you can shut down and reformat your last server and repurpose or recycle the machine. If you are not sure, you can archive the server. Just don’t uninstall the Exchange server.

What happens if you have a domain with a sub-domain, where Exchange is installed in the root domain and the subdomain, and these are hybrid configurations with 2 different tenants?
It depends on the workstation and the connected domain. The Exchange Management tools can be used for recipient management in both domains.

We removed (uninstalled) the last Exchange server long ago. Can we now install the updated Exchange Server 2019 Management tools to help us manage recipients if we use Azure AD Connect?
Yes. Simply Prepare Active Directory and install the Exchange 2019 Server Management tools on a domain-joined machine.

When we install the new Exchange Server 2019 management tools package, should we remove the last Exchange server immediately?
Our recommendation is to shut down the last Exchange server and make sure that the new Management Tools will work for you. There is no reason to hurry with removal of your last server using the removal script. Once you are certain that the server is no longer needed, you can cleanup Active Directory using the CleanupActiveDirectoryEMT.ps1 script.

Our organization never installed any Exchange Server 2019 servers. Can we use this solution to manage our Exchange recipients? Do we need to install Exchange 2019 Server first to do it?
Exchange 2019 Management tools can be installed in any organization that currently has Exchange Server 2013 or newer version. You do not need to have a running Exchange Server 2019 before you can use the management tools. Simply Prepare Active Directory for Exchange Server 2019 (using the 2022 H1 Exchange Server 2019 CU or newer) and then install the Management tools on a domain joined machine.

Our organization currently uses the last Exchange server for user management but also for SMTP relay purposes. What should we do for SMTP relay in case we remove the last Exchange server?
If the last Exchange server is shut down, we recommend that you use the Exchange Edge Transport server to help you relay SMTP email.

Exchange Online Manageability Team

Read full article (Microsoft Exchange Blog)

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