Active Directory Data

Exchange 2007

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 will reach end of support on April 11, 2017. To stay supported, you will need to upgrade. For more information, see Resources to help you upgrade your Office 2007 servers and clients.


Applies to: Exchange Server 2007, Exchange Server 2007 SP1, Exchange Server 2007 SP2, Exchange Server 2007 SP3

Topic Last Modified: 2016-11-10

This topic discusses the data that is specific to the Active Directory directory service and that is critical to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 server roles. When you are making a disaster recovery plan, you should understand the backup and restore methods available for this data.

The following sections are in this topic:

  • Where Exchange stores configuration data

  • How to protect the configuration data

As part of your Exchange disaster recovery planning, you should understand the dependence that Exchange 2007 has on Active Directory. The relationship between Exchange 2007 and Active Directory has the following important implications for personnel and rights issues:

  • Exchange 2007 administrators and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 administrators must work together because Active Directory is common to both programs.

  • Exchange 2007 administrators who perform disaster recovery procedures require permissions to read, write, and modify Exchange 2007 objects in Active Directory.

Servers running Exchange 2007 use Active Directory extensively for the following:

  • Active Directory is the configuration repository for Exchange organization data. Without this configuration information, Exchange servers cannot start or function.

  • All Exchange directory information, including configuration information regarding mailboxes, contacts, distribution lists, servers, and sites within the Exchange organization, is stored in Active Directory.

  • Items such as distribution lists and access permissions for users and groups are also stored within Active Directory.

    As a best practice, you should not run Exchange 2007 on computers that also function as Windows domain controllers. Instead, you should configure Exchange servers and Windows domain controllers as separate computers.
  • Setup /M:RecoverServer retrieves the configuration information that it applies to a server role from Active Directory.

The following table outlines where Exchange stores configuration data. It also indicates the backup and restore methods that you should use for each type of data.

Locations used by Active Directory for configuration data

Critical data Location Backup method Restore method

Active Directory domain container

Active Directory


System State backup of a domain controller

System State restore of a domain controller

Active Directory configuration container

Active Directory

CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=<Domain>,DC=<Domain_Root>

System State backup of a domain controller

System State restore of a domain controller

Active Directory schema container

Active Directory


System State backup of a domain controller

System State restore of a domain controller

The best way to protect Active Directory is by making it as redundant as possible. You can achieve this goal by having multiple domain controllers and global catalog servers in multiple locations that frequently replicate directory information. To protect Active Directory at the server level, you need to make regular backups of your domain controllers and global catalog servers, including a System State backup of directory servers in your Exchange organization.

If you experience problems with the domain controllers in the Windows domain to which your Exchange server belongs, you must repair those domain controllers immediately. If these problems occur, you may experience minor complications with your servers running Exchange, or your servers may stop functioning altogether. You can help ensure the safety of your domain controllers and global catalog servers by implementing redundancy measures and by having a strategy for backing up Active Directory regularly.

For more information about Active Directory backup, see Introduction to Administering Active Directory Backup and Restore.