How to restart Exchange 2010 RecoverServer process

I’ve been on a client site today fighting with an Exchange 2010 install problem.

I’ll not bore you with the details of how I got there but I ended up having to build a new server to replace the one I built yesterday(!).

The theory was simple:-

  • Install a new Server with the same name as the failed one I was replacing
  • Reset the AD computer account & join the new server to the domain
  • Install all the prerequisites for Exchange 2010 SP1
  • Run Setup /m:RecoverServer to install Exchange with the same configuration as the failed server using the AD configuration.

This is all documented in

All went well until, unfortunately, the MSExchangeTransport Service failed to start due to network issues. Now you would think that you sort out the issue then run the same command again wouldn’t you?

If you do you are presented with the error “Setup previously failed while performing the action DisasterRecovery. You can’t resume setup by performing the action install”

Searching around I found which sounded good but if you look in the Registry for the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\v8.0 as specified you will find it doesn’t exist for Exchange 2010.

After a lot more time banging my head against the monitor I worked out that the key is actually HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\ExchangeServer\v14 and that Exchange setup won’t be fooled by renaming keys as suggested.

I exported the keys and then looked in each “role” folder (MailboxRole, HubTransportRole, etc) and deleted any key labelled “Watermark” and “Action” – these are what the RecoverServer process looks for.

I now can successfully re-run the setup /m:RecoverServer process and get on with configuring the Exchange Server after a very frustrating day.


8 responses to “How to restart Exchange 2010 RecoverServer process

  1. This helped me big time! I also found that my server was not part of the correct groups:

    Domain Computers
    Exchange Domain Servers
    Exchange Enterprise Servers
    Exchange Install Domain Servers
    Exchange Servers
    Exchange Trusted Subsystem

    After I did that I rebooted and all my services started! YEAH!!!

    Thank you!

  2. I struggled with a Recovery Install for 2 days, until I found this page. Added my recovered server to those groups mentioned in the above comment that were in my AD, then removed the Registry entries you list, and bammo – I was off to the races. My thanks, big time!!

  3. Thank you, thank you!! Second day working on a failed installation. This post, along with the comment regarding the security groups saved my day! I appreciate people like you willing to share their experiences with the rest of us. You never know how many people you help by doing that! Thanks again.

  4. I’m not worthy. Just about to restore whole AD to pre Exchange 2010 and reinstall, but this saved all that.
    Thanks. A real life saver.

  5. Exchange 2010 SP3 on Server 2012 – Upgrading from Exchange 2003 was looking bad until I found this solution. MS don’t like to tell you the simple fixes and this worked after a server rebuild and what was looking like a possible DR. About to give up, go to bed and ring MS in the morning. Now it’s all running sweat on my new server. Many Thanks.

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