Sunday, June 16, 2024

How to Restart Exchange Services after Failed Update?

Microsoft regularly releases Cumulative Updates (CUs) for Exchange Servers. Installing the latest updates for your Exchange Server is critical as they fix bugs, patch vulnerabilities, and bring new features. However, sometimes, after installing the Cumulative Updates (CU), you find yourself in a situation where the Exchange services will not start. There are various factors that can lead to such an issue. 

To understand the issue more clearly, let’s take a scenario. You have an Exchange Server 2019 standalone, installed on a Windows Server 2019 Standard and you need to install the latest Cumulative Update (CU) 14. The update was downloaded from the Microsoft site and installed with no issues. However, after the restart, it was noted that emails are not coming, users are not able to connect via Outlook to their mailboxes or public folders, and even the Exchange Admin Center (EAC) is not loading. In addition, all the Exchange Server services are set to disabled. Although disabling the services is a normal practice during the installation of the update, these automatically change to automatic after successful installation of updates. This means an issue occurred during the update installation. 

Check and Restart the Exchange Services

The first thing to do is check the local Exchange Server setup logs. These can provide information on what could have happened and any particular module has failed during the installation. You can found the logs in C:\ExchangeSetupLogs folder. 

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You need to check the services, which have been impacted and are related to Exchange Server. You can check the status of the below services and make sure these are set to Automatic:

  • Windows Management Instrumentation
  • World Wide Web Publishing Service
  • Tracing Service for Search in Exchange
  • Remote Registry
  • Performance Logs & Alerts
  • IIS Admin Service
  • Application Identity
  • Microsoft Filtering Management Service

To set the service, open the Properties window of each service, from the Services management in the Administrative Tools Control Panel. Then, change the Startup type to Automatic

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When this is done, click on the Start button. This must be done for all the services mentioned above.

After all the services have been set to automatic and started, you can set the Exchange services as well. You need to check the documentation of the server to make sure you only start the services that were being used. Then, you need to perform the process on those services. If all goes well and the services are started, you need to run a complete test of the Exchange Server to ensure that nothing is broken.

To Conclude

After installing the Exchange Server Cumulative Updates if the services fail to start, then you can follow the above-given instructions to restart the Exchange Services. However, you must remember to take a backup of the server before installing any cumulative or other updates, and performing any maintenance work on the server. If something happens, then you can easily recover from the backup. You should also take some precautions prior to installing the update, like pausing antivirus scans and backup operations. In addition, read carefully the requirements of the cumulative update and the compatibility with the current update level.

However, in case the services still fail to start, then an option is to re-run the same Cumulative Update (CU) or try to install a newer version. There is a chance that this would fix the problem of the previous installation. If this doesn’t work, then the last option is to rebuild the server. You can rebuild the server but the main challenge is to recover the data with minimum effort and disruption. 

To recover the data, you can take the help of third-party Exchange server recovery tool, like Stellar Repair for Exchange. This tool can open any version of Exchange Server database and in any state – be it healthy or dirty shutdown. It allows to granularly export the EDB data to PST and other file formats. It can also easily export the user mailboxes, user archives, shared mailboxes, disabled mailboxes, and public folders directly to a live Exchange Server with automatic mailbox matching. The tool makes the recovery of data smooth and fast, with peace of mind.

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