How to remove the Exchange 2013 Mailbox role and Exchange from your Windows Server

Id done this a few times and sometimes I can remember the sequence and sometimes I would forget. There are serious consequences to forgetting.  It takes forever to go back and keep running the removal and fail. The client access role will remove fairly smoothly.With Server 2012, you will find instructions below.  The mail role requires that every object be addressed before the role will come out successfully. Below find the steps to get the mail role and Exchange decommissioned from your server. Once this is completed, go to AD and remove all evidence of Exchange in your ADUC. delete all the security groups, folders, , monitoring and system guids, etc… then you can remove any IIS app pools , folders entries, and registry evidence of Exchange if desired. Reboot your System and begin with Prepare Schema again.

Remove Mailbox Role Exchange 2013

1. Get-user | disable-mailbox
2. Get-PartnerApplication| Remove-PartnerApplication
3. Get-mailboxdatabase
4. Use 3 to run- Get-Mailbox -Arbitration -Database ‘Mailbox Database xxxxxxxxxx’ | Disable-Mailbox -Arbitration
5. Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where { $_.DisconnectReason -eq “Disabled” } | ft  DisplayName,Database,DisconnectDate
6. Get-Mailbox -Monitoring | Disable-Mailbox
7.>Get-MailboxDatabase | Remove-MailboxDatabase
8. See that database is now deleted with  – Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where { $_.DisconnectReason -eq “Disabled” } | ft  DisplayName,Database,DisconnectDate
9. Physically delete the database and log files (leave the mailbox folder for now)
10. verify nothing is left – Get-MailboxStatistics -Database ‘Mailbox Database 0039199658’ | where {$_.DisconnectReason -eq “SoftDeleted”} |foreach {Remove-StoreMailbox -Database $_.database -Identity $_.mailboxguid -MailboxState SoftDeleted}
11. get-mailbox
12 get-mailbox -arbitration
13. get-mailbox -monitoring

At this point reboot the server and verify that IIS and other roles are working correctly. As an extreme measure, you may also remove the prerequisites and reinstall them. (

Finally, begin again-
14 cmd -> Setup /Mode:Uninstall /iacceptexchangeserverlicenseterms

Disk Probe Cheat Sheet. This is a sheet for Experienced Support Individuals and should not be used by anyone but! You have been warned!


Good day all,

Today I have a share for you. This is credited to Kristian Lamb. I am helping him to get his blog going. And I am sharing this work  he had put in, to improve on a cheat sheet for use with a tool called DISKPROBE. You will need to consult other documentation, if you need to execute a use case; but for a quick cheat sheet, Kristin has done a great job, and I encourage him to get his blog going to show off his very good work.

Here is a link to start you off on DiskProbe. Let this be a warning. You want to learn this today! IF your array goes down, you will not have time to learn this on the fly! There is a lot to understand before you even consider using it!


Better yet, Contact your Support organization, and get some help. This should be used BY professional IT support agents Only!

You have been warned!





Boot code first 440bytes of the MBR are boot code. Boot code is only used if we are booting to the drive otherwise it is ignored.
Disk Signature Bytes 01B8 – 01BB unique 32bit number
Partition Table Bytes 01BE to 01FD. Notice the Highlighted line. This section is 4 lines and is also the reason for the MBR disk limitation of 4 primary partitions!
End of Sector Marker aka MBR Signature – for MBR’s and EBR’s will always be 0x55 0xAA. Boxed in Blue

MBR Partition Table Entries


Bootable Flag 00 or 80 (when you mark a partition as Active that is writing a value of 0x80 here.
Starting CHS:  – Cylinder Head Sector
Partition Identifier: Common partition ID by windows [07h NTFS, 42h Dynamic disk, EEh GPT]
Ending CHS: Cylinder Head Sector
Relative Sector (LBA): Logical Block Address where Partition Starts
Total Sectors (LBA): Number of Sectors that make up the Partition

NTFS Boot Sector



JUMP INSTRUCTION : valid x86 assembly to point to entry of boot code.(only used if booting to volume)
OEM TAG : ASCI encoded 8byte field
BIOS PARAMETER BLOCK : Defines Properties of the Volume
EXTENDED BIOS PARAMETER BLOCK : Defines structures specific to NTFS aka $MFT ect.. Ect..
BOOT CODE : The Entry point from jump instruction (note more to boot strap than shown in NTFS Boot Sector. NTFS reserves the first 16 sectors of a volume for bootcode information.
END OF SECTOR MARKER : Same as an MBR signature the NTFS Boot sector will have 0x55AA

BIOS Parameter Block (NTFS BootSector)


Note: *Fields were used with FAT, and are not used in NTFS.
Bytes Per Sector
Sectors Per Cluster
Reserved Sectors *
Number of FATs *
ROOT Dir Entries *
Media Descriptor
Small Sectors *
Sectors Per Track
Number of Heads
Hidden Sectors
Large Sectors *

Exteneded BIOS Parameter Block (NTFS BootSector)


Note: *Fields were used with FAT, and are not used in NTFS.
Drive Number or FAT Size *
Total Sectors
Clusters to $MFT
Cluster to $MFTMIR
Clusters per FRS
Clusters Per Index Block
Volume Serial Number

GPT Array Header


Signature This is always the same value (EFI PART).  It identifies the header as being EFI compatible.  Making it misleading, as it is NOT the start of, or any part of, an EFI partition.
Version While this has remained the same for as long as Windows has incorporated GPT disks, it is possible that if the UEFI standard changes, then the GPT version might be incremented.
Header Size This value tells how big the Array Header is.  Currently it is always 92 bytes but by defining it here, it is possible to make the header bigger if we should ever need to.  Since the field is 4 bytes in size, the header size could be defined as large as 4 GB.

Note: Even though only 92 bytes of LBA 1 is used for the Array Header, the rest of the sector is left unused.  The header size does NOT have to align to sector boundaries.

Header CRC A CRC32 checksum of the Array Header against its counterpart at the end of the drive.
Reserved Must be zeros.  While this could actually be used for something on some future date, it is my opinion that this is just keeping everything quad word aligned.
This LBA The LBA where the Array Header is located.
Alternate LBA The LBA where the Array Header’s backup is located.
First Useable LBA The first LBA that partitions can actually be created at.  For Microsoft GPT disks, this is normally the start of the Microsoft Reserved Partition.
Last Useable LBA The last LBA that partitions can use.
Disk GUID This is the number that should be used to identify the disk rather than the old disk signature.
Partition Entry LBA This is the location of the beginning of the Partition Array
Number of Partition Entries The number of possible partitions.  While this is currently 128, it is left open to change this number later if the need arises.

Note: This is a 4 byte field.  Meaning that GPT disks COULD be defined to store over 4 billion partitions.

Partition Entry Size Defines the size of the partition entries in bytes (seen later).  Currently this is 128 bytes.
Partition Array CRC A CRC32 checksum of the Partition Array against its counterpart near the end of the drive.

GPT Partition Array


Partition Type GUID This is the replacement for the old partition ID.
Partition Unique GUID This is a GUID that is unique for every partition
Starting LBA The first LBA of the partition being defined
Ending LBA The last LBA of the partition being defined
Partition Name This usually corresponds to what is found in the list of partition type GUIDs.
Microsoft Reserved Partition E3C9E316-0B5C-4DB8-817D-F92DF00215AE
Basic Data Partition EBD0A0A2-B9E5-4433-87C0-68B6B72699C7
LDM Metadata Partition   5808C8AA-7E8F-42E0-85D2-E1E90434CFB3
LDM Data Partition   AF9B60A0-1431-4F62-BC68-3311714A69AD
Cluster Partition DB97dBA9-0840-4bAE-97F0-FFB9A327C7E1
WinRE DE94BBA4-06D1-4D40-A16A-BFD50179D6AC

Microsoft Skype Operations Framework (SOF) Network Assessment Options


It started with the Call Quality Methodology Framework. It has Evolved into the Skype Operations Framework. I am calling out two specific tools in the SOF, that you should be aware about. I had to do a little digging to understand what the purpose of 2 particular tools are and when you would use them.



First you have the Skype for Business Network Assessment tool. This is a simple tool, run from the server, that will test the LAN. This may not give a complex view of the network, but may give you insite to local issues. You need to populate a CONFIG file, then run the command line tool. you get back a pass/fail type of text report. This is nothing fancy.

If this does not give you enough detail, you may purchase the UCAccessor tool. IR.Prognosis is a very good tool to use, to get you an advanced look at network issues. The price runs around the $800 range for full retail, but This is just hearsay. You will need to get a key from your vendor, and the price is likely been negotiated, in advance by the vendor, so I am sure prices will vary.

You should pay attention to the entire SOF. Follow the steps to deploy and maintain your Skype for Business Deployment, but I wanted to call these two tools out, as they are likely going to help with issues with the Networks we work on. Because you know the issue is never the Network.

With that, Ill leave you with a little poem. This is a Haiku:

  • Packets flowing fast
  • get stuck stuck between VLAN 6
  • The Network is Fine

And finally, A tool that is a holly grail, is the IR Prognosis. This tool is what you want to monitor you’re Skype for business environment. This Management monitoring application can tell you what is wrong with a call, in real time, while an agent is on the phone!. I saw it. I want a copy for my single Server Lab. It is an awesome  product and I recommend it for anyone who wants to see what’s really going on with your network. The tool uses snmp and SDN to get information from every device in the network. It is like nothing I have seen to date.

Thank you for reading and I hope this tool comes up when your looking for network problems.



Skype Operations Framework (SOF) Big Subject of Skype For Business at Ignite 2016 and UC SDN ; we need a way to get that Network Info today!



I will likely have an in depth review of how to use the Skype Operations Framework, as I have bunch of training coming up on the subject. I will be eager to share with you. For now, I just want to deliver the message and present the resources to access the Academy and training around this important new addition to Skype for Business.

What Is Skype Operation Framework (SOF)?

SOF is a methodology to Plan Deploy and Maintain SFB.

How do I learn SOF?

There are some great resources available to you today to get to the bottom of this methodology. But first you deserve a more professional, less boring explanation of the product. I am shocked how much is already written about it. Rather then bore you with text, I found the videos that discus the topic. Brian Nyce is one of my favorite UC Microsoft people and his video on SOF is very good.



In addition to this, Ali Rohani, from Skype Engineering, can better speak to the subject then I. Take a look at his video as well:



Now that you have a better feel for what SOF is, Please accept these links below for further training on the new addition to SFB. Ignite 2016 was very much behind this product, as well as the coming of the cloud. Please begin to look at MS azure and Office 365. This is where the stream is taking us, so we need to get our feet wet, and then take a swim!



Other Urgent Needs in UC Today

I forgot, before I close, There is one subject that goes hand in hand with SOF.How? Its the other weak link in the deployment. Knowing what the network looks like and what it can handle, is one use case. Another use is the Post Deploy and Maintenance phase. SDN can monitor and provide real time monitoring data. This is key. This data can be used to shape the network traffic dynamically. That is where we are supposed to be going, say the visionaries.

UC SDN, is something we still dont see alot in the field (at least I have not), but we need to be looking for in 2017. PR.ognosis is a great product for all aspects of monitoring for SFB. It uses SNMP and the SDN API. This is the only way to get the deep information we need to monitor networks properly for SFB. This is my firm belief. I am watching for the first scripting to come out, to allow us to automate, say with power shell. I may have to break into the SDK myself, and see what I can do. we need to get there fast. Take a look at this link. SOF is part of the equation, but so is the SDN API. Watch out PR.Ognosis, you will have competition, one day!

Pascal Menezes A very dedicated UC Expert

Thank you,




New Skype for Business and Exchange Certification Track aka New Lync Exchange Upgrade Certifications to MCSE Productivity

Before I jump right in this evening, let me share the exciting picture of Saturday night Live Season 42, episode 2. This is a lovely commentary on the second presidential Debate. I recommend catching Saturday night live season 42. the Debates are hilarious!


No matter if your for Trump Or Hillary, please be nice to each other! This is a great country and all of our problems are small to those who have less. No matter what! All we have is each other! Anyway for the New Certification information, first be aware that you should be transitioned automatically. If you have Server 2012 MCSE and Exchange or Lync MCSE, you should now see this in your transcript


From this point forward (9/26/2016), you will be on the new program. This means you will be trying to keep the following certifications valid:

  • MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure – focusing on skills validation for Windows Server and Microsoft Azure
  • MCSE: Mobility – focusing on skills validation for Windows Client and Enterprise Mobility Suite
  • MCSE: Data Management and Analysis – focusing on skills validation for both on-premises and cloud-based Microsoft data products and services
  • MCSE: Productivity – focusing on skills validation for Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, and Skype for Business
  • MCSD: App Builder – focusing on skills validation for Web and Mobile app development

It’s a nice change because you just have to take one test a year to be able to keep your certification. Microsoft uses an elective system, so Productivity, for example could be Skype, Exchange or SharePoint. In addition, the advanced topics are also on the same certification, but you don’t have to take the advanced certification until the following year, and you still have the MCSE.

So this is a tradeoff. You get the certification up front, but you will ultimately want to complete all the exams, over time.

The old way, you had to scram to get all the exams done, and then you had a long period of no growth perhaps, followed by another scramble period.

I think the new method matches reality. And on that note, Having taken the 2016 Server Exam Beta (70-743) for Infrastructure upgrade; the new testing methodology has finally moved to the future. No more questions with the same boring beginning. The questions are straight forward. By the end of the exam, you are telling yourself, you deserve to fail if you don’t know the information.

I was very satisfied with the new test format. So in closing, we have a new Certification format, and new Test format coming our way.

The resources I have used and recommended are Born to Learn and Microsoft virtual Academy. These are both much better then the past, and the material is generally helpful.


Good luck and happy Certifying!!!


What changes in Skype, when you move your voicemail to the Cloud, with an Office365 Mailbox.


Hello all, I found myself in a situation recently. A deployment person completed a hybrid deployment of Exchange, where Voicemail was supposed to be in the cloud. However, the voicemail did not work.

The issue was the company allowed the Deployment person to complete all the deployment steps, except as it pertains to Skype for Business.

This put me in an odd position. I did not intuitively know what commands needed to be run. I verified It was not just me. It turns out, it is extremely difficult to come into a complex hybrid setup, and feel comfortable, running commands.

So since this article is all shell commands, how about a cool picture of me at Ignite! See below. If you at a Microsoft event, Check out the Spark 360 booth! Very cool pictures!





After more then a week of getting the back information, Myself and David McCullough of Dell EMC (we both work for Dell EMC), finally came to a set of commands to run.

So please remember. This is not the entirety of steps you need. This is just the Skype for Business steps you need for basic voicemail for Unified Messaging Online.

For Skype

Create a hosting provider

1. New-CsHostingProvider -Identity “Exchange Online” -Enabled $True -EnabledSharedAddressSpace $True -HostsOCSUsers $False -ProxyFqdn “” -IsLocal $False -VerificationLevel UseSourceVerification

2. Invoke-CsManagementStoreReplication

3. Get-CsHostingProvider –localstore

Configure Voice Messaging

1. New-CsHostedVoicemailPolicy –Identity CloudUM – Destination -Description “O365 Voicemail” -Organization “”


Configure Office 365

1. Create the Dial Plan Skype  – See this link- Creating the Dial Plan “Skype” look under Configuration of Office365

2. When you create this Dial Plan – A policy will create automatically.

In the Skype environment

These commands are on a per Dial Plan Basis.

Take the results of this command (the identity from the fist command and put into the second command)

new-csexumcontact -displaynumber “+15141234567” -sipaddress “” -registrarpool -ou “ou=Exchange UM Contacts,dc=yourdomain,dc=com”

Replace the yellow area, with the results from the get-cshotsedvoicemailpolicy  command. The Contact command above, should specify a policy Identity. you can use that below :

Grant-cshostedvoicemailpolicy –identity  “CN={234731ac-9dda-4037-9acb-cd5e4be08163},OU=Exchange UM Contacts,DC=yourdomain,DC=com” –policyname CloudUM

Grant Users the Policy

Grant-cshostedvoicemailpolicy –identity “User Name” –policyname CloudUM

Set-CsUser -HostedVoiceMail $True -Identity “User Name”

Final step is you must enable Voicemail, once they have been moved over to office 365. So the user will be Disabled for UM when they are On premise. Next, perforn the steps above. Finally, Enable the user for Unified Messaging, once they are moved to Office 365 for Unified messaging.

Now if you go any further, you risk setting your self up for Skype Cloud Hybrid. For that, take a look at this article by CanitPro. They will show you the steps go all the way, creating a Skype connection to Office 365, which will be the classic Skype Hybrid Setup. What I describe above, is how you just enable Unified Messaging, for Exchange Office 365 Users.

This is a very fine line, you want to be aware of. Don’t configure Skype Hybrid, when you are trying to get Unified Messaging, in Office 365.

Thank you,




Manual work around of the bug for DTE encryption on SQl servers When Mirroring Skype for Business


Now this is a Skype post, but it largely revolves around the failure of the Skype Topology Builder to be able to mirror that Database of the SQL back end, in Skype for Business.

The setup is you have a SQL back end, A SQL Mirror server, and a Witness server. Below is a work around for the Mirror Failing to create, when DTE encryption is enabled on the SQL server:


  • Run SQL management studio
  • Open a connection to all 3 servers
  • Open new query
  • On primary server setup a backup directory to backup the Databases to
  • On the Mirror setup a backup directory to copy backup files from primary to mirror server
  • Perform a table backup on the primary server to the backup directory
  • See Figure 1 and 2 Below

figure 1. sql2

Figure 2



Once you have the Back up completed, open a file explorer on the mirror and copy the backup file from the primary to the mirror server drive

Execute the following commands from the SQL Studio manager for each backed up table to restore it to the Mirror server

****Executed on Mirror server

.use xds


restore database [xds] from disk=’d:\backups\xdstlog’ with norecovery ALTER DATABASE xds SET PARTNER = ‘TCP:// yourport’

Execute the following commands from the SQL Studio manager on the Primary server for each backed up table to establish mirroring

****Executed on Primary after Mirrored server commands


Finish setup of Mirror by adding witness to the mirrored pairs

Goto properties on the Primary Table


Go TO Mirroring


Click Configure security to add the Witness to the mirror and then provide the Service account information and click Finish to establish Mirroring with a Witness



Microsoft report of the TDE encryption being a problem with the SQL 2008 Manager and appears to still be a problem with SQL 2014

If you have problems with the Database not being able to be configured for restore with the SQL commands check the following properties on the problem tables

On the Primary go to properties



Go to Options:




And check change the databases from Full to Simple click OK and then change them back to FULL

This should then allow you to restore the databases correctly and setup Mirroring

See this article for the normal script to restore the database. you may just use the install-csdatabase commands by this point. the scripts are also included in this article:

Skype for Business will now Re-Mirror