Friday, July 31, 2015

Exchange 2016 - Remove Default Database...Audit Log mailbox?

As you have seen with Exchange 2013 when you try to remove the default Exchange database that is created when installing Exchange you are greeted with this lovely error message:

This Mailbox database contains one or more mailboxes, mailbox plans, archive mailboxes, public folder mailboxes or arbitration mailboxes. ...

With Exchange 2013 you were able to remove the database after moving any regular user mailboxes

Get-Mailbox -Database <dbname>  | New-MoveRequest –TargetDatabase <dbname>

then moving the arbitration mailbox 

Get-Mailbox -Database <dbname> -Arbitration | New-MoveRequest –TargetDatabase <dbname>

but now with Exchange 2016 there is a new type of mailbox know as the "AuditLog" mailbox. This is a change in the architecture of mailbox auditing which no longer stores audit data on the individual mailboxes but rather stores the data in central audit mailboxes. This provides better long term storage as well as better reporting and exporting of data. The structure matches that of Office 365 to also help keep things consistent with hybrid environments. So to remove that AuditLog mailbox just use the new switch to move the mailbox:

Get-Mailbox -Database <dbname> -AuditLog | New-MoveRequest –TargetDatabase <dbname>

 Once all the mailboxes have been moved off you should now be able to remove the default database. 




6dra AMO


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Monday, May 11, 2015

Microsoft Ignite Recap

Now that the biggest Microsoft conference of the year is over, its time to reflect on things that went good and things that went bad. I have been lucky enough to be able to attend a number of Microsoft and non-Microsoft conferences over the years so I have seen the ups and downs. Below are my observations, in no particular order.


The overall content of the sessions was pretty good. Since the Ignite conference was a combination of many smaller dedicated product conferences there was a very wide array of topics and discussions going on throughout the conference. Of course, there were sessions that were more product fluff then deep content but there were also many sessions that got deeper. I never look for a session to be completely new to me, if that were the case then I wouldn't be doing my job of learning. Which brings me to the point of the ‘Experts Unplugged’ sessions. Many, many, many of the questions that were asked during the Exchange Unplugged sessions were answered previously in blog articles written by the Exchange team on the Exchange team blog. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened, in this conference and previous ones.

The speaker selection process was very different from previous conferences. Instead of speakers submitting sessions that they wish to give, individuals were required to submit their names and area of expertise then they would be assigned sessions to speak about. The end result seemed to be numerous product managers from Microsoft that seemed to have little public speaking practice. Many sessions had the word "um" muttered many times. There was also very little sessions given by MVPs. Although the MVP community was definitely present in the sessions, the expo and all over twitter. But it’s always good to have an independent voice that also gives some details from the trenches. 

Wow, were there a lot of people at this conference. Around 23,000 attendees in all graced the halls of Ignite. As you can imagine there were problems with that amount of people. There was a large number of hotels that’s supported all these people and good thing for us is that there was shuttles running from them. Some hotels had longer waits and more packed buses than others, but overall it seemed to work out well. The one complaint that I heard from many people is that the shuttles didn't start running until roughly the same time as the last session was ending. So the individuals who were trying to leave early were stranded or had to wait in a cab line that was very long.

Theater Sessions
The theater sessions were something I had not seen done before at previous conferences. The sessions were giving to smaller groups with a 20-minute time limit in the Expo hall. For these sessions, speakers were able to submit proposals to the Ignite staff for consideration. I was one of the people to be a speaker in the theater sessions. It was a great experience, that was enhanced by the Ignite staff helping speakers. They quickly gave a run-down of the computer and audio equipment and even threw in some encouraging words before going on stage. Big kudos to those guys. I hope this continues in future conferences.


I, like most people that I talked to at the conference, had been through Chicago airports many of times but never beyond the security checkpoints. The city was great a great place for a conference. There was a lot of nightlife and an abundance of excellent food choices to choose from. I was able to do quite a lot of walking around downtown Chicago as well as "Tilt" out from the John Hancock building at 94 stories in the sky. 

McCormick Center
This place was HUGE!!! My pedometer on my phone counted 3,000 steps from the breakfast area to one of my session rooms. Coupled with all the people caused getting to sessions at a time when the room was already at max capacity. Maybe keeping product sessions in a single area of the center would have been better although I know room sizes might make that a logistical nightmare. Either way, there were many comparisons to herding cattle, herding sheep and/or salmon swimming up stream when it came to describing the packed halls between sessions. 


Typically conference food is not very good. But during Ignite it reached a new low. Now I know it can be a big pain to prepare food for so many people but as the week grew on, the lines at McDonald’s and the other restaurants inside the McCormick Center got longer and longer as people avoided the given conference food. It seemed like maybe they were trying to get too fancy with the food when just some good ol' burgers and hot dogs would have been better. Another point I would like to add is the lack of bottled water. Sure they had an endless supply of soda and small cups to pour some water into but PLEASE give me some bottled water I can take around sessions.

The Expo floor was another thing that was huge. The one thing I did like from previous conferences is not only was there many booth from vendors and sponsors. There were many Microsoft booths and areas available as well. Just about every Microsoft product had a booth where product experts were standing guard to answer questions. It was a good place to meet members of the product team as well as MVPs of the products to engage in questions.

Not too much to say about the Wi-Fi, except it was very spotty. Although it was not due to a lack of access points. They were literally stationed all over the place. You couldn't walk 10 yards without seeing one. But once again, due to the amount of people at the conference and many of them connecting more than 1 device, there was issues.

Attendee Party
There is a growing theme in this post about lines at Ignite and the attendee party was no exception. Microsoft brought in 30 different restaurants to hand out different types of food out to everyone. The food they were handing out were small finger food size portions. So not only did you have to wait in long lines to try something, when you got the food, you were done with it in about two bites. The hot dog line was the one exception to the amount of food, as they gave you a full hot dog and allowed you to grab as many as you wanted, although I waited one full hour for the pleasure of a full serving of food. There was a couple of different bands playing and many over-sized games, such as Operation, checkers and Jenga for everyone to enjoy, while you were waiting in those lines. The headline of the party was a hour long concert by Fall Out Boy. They had the best quote of "We're Fall Out Boy, take lots of pictures because if you don't know who we are then your kids do."

“Purple Shirts”
The “Purple Shirts” as many people called them were Ignite staff that were ALL over the place. From stationed outside every session room to check people in, to in the lunch room clicking with a counter, and even at the hotels to help direct people to the shuttles. These individuals were very knowledgeable in locations of classes in the GIANT McCormick center and also in the times of various functions. Even when they didn't know the answer to a question, they knew who to ask to get the answer.

 In summary, it was a great conference and a great experience. Yes there are many things to work on and many of those got better as the week grew on, such as security yelling at everyone, and people getting lost due to the size of the center. But all in all I can't wait to come back next year, I just may need to pack a lunch.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ignite Session

As promised, from my theater session talk at the Ignite conference, here is the list of links to various scripts, tools and important documentation that can be used for Exchange. Enjoy!

Important Information:

PowerShell DSC:



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Exchange 2013 Management Pack Update

Microsoft has released an update to the Exchange 2013 Management Pack for SCOM. The update added nice Dashboards to give you a better overall view of the health of your environment.

It also added additional reports and views. The updated management pack version 15.0.652.19 can be downloaded here:

For detailed information on how to update and use the management pack look here

You can view additional screenshots on the SCOM blog page here

Monday, October 27, 2014


I previously wrote about poison mailbox detection in Exchange 2010 and how to find mailboxes that have been quarantined. In Exchange 2013 there are 2 additional cmdlets to assist with troubleshooting mailboxes. The new cmdlets that were added were Enable-MailboxQuarantine and Disable-MailboxQuarantine. With Enable-MailboxQuarantine it gives you the ability to manually quarantine a mailbox at your discretion. This can be useful for testing the functionality of quarantining a mailbox or, more importantly, quarantining a mailbox that is causing issues issues on a server. 

As great as the new cmdlets are, there is still a hole that needs to be filled. There is no Get-MailboxQuarantine cmdlet to check/verify if a mailbox has been quarantined. We still have to resort to digging through event logs or registry keys. So I wrote a script to do just that. 

Currently version 1 of the script just searches the event logs for users that have been quarantined. The script has a one optional parameter where you can specify a specific server if you wish. I plan on updating the script to search through the registry as well in the event that your environment has many event logs that would remove the quarantine event log. I will update this blog when that happens.

The download for the script is

You can read more about the new cmdlets in 2013 at the link below:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Exchange 2013 DSC Module

Yes!!! Microsoft has completed work on a DSC (Desired State Configuration) module for Exchange 2013. This beauty has 24 resources in the module to setup and configure Exchange 2013. I plan on getting knees deep in this one and blogging more as I start playing with everything. You can find the module here. For a series of blogs explaining the module, check here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Windows 10 won't start on Hyper V

So you're like a kid on Christmas signing up for the Windows 10 technical preview. You download the iso (zzzzzzzz), load up Hyper-V and create a new VM off of the ISO. As soon as you start the VM you're hit with this error:

Fortunately, I have only seen this issue with the Enterprise version of Windows 10 and the Server technical preview but there is a quick fix. When creating the VM, you need to make it a 'Generation 1' machine instead of 'Generation 2'.

 Of course, you cannot change the generation after the machine is created so you will need to delete and recreate the VM. Party on!